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Identification & Characterization of Target Antigens

Antibody-based immunotherapy has revolutionized treatment of cancer. For the past 20 years, novel antibody constructs have continuously been approved for the treatment of hematological and solid malignancies. Antibody-based immunotherapy as well as Chimeric Antigen-Receptor T cells target surface proteins on tumor cells.

A great challenge remains to identify surface antigens that are specific for the tumor and are only expressed at very low levels on healthy tissue. The optimal target antigen is expressed in the majority of cases on bulk tumor cells at time of primary diagnosis and at time of relapse. In addition, the target antigen is preferentially involved in the oncogenic pathway to reduce the likelihood of immune escape mechanisms.

We are continuously exploring novel target antigens for antibody-based and CAR T cell approaches. Utilizing flow cytometry, proteomics and mass spectrometry (collaboration with the research group of Franz Herzog) we validate known target antigens and explore novel target structures (SFB1243, CSC). The work is performed at the Gene Center in close collaboration with the laboratory of leukemia diagnostics (head of flow cytometry: Prof. Dr. M. Subklewe)