Institute for Translational Immune-Oncology
Our mission is to make immunotherapies more effective and available to patients in need.
We are currently looking for PostDocs, PhD students, master students and medical students.
Please send enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org
Renata Stripecke joined the University Hospital Cologne and the Cancer Research Center Cologne Essen (CCCE) as a full professor (W3) and Chair for Translational Immuno-Oncology in July 2022. She was previously an Associate Professor (W2) at the Department of Hematology, Hemostasis, Oncology and Stem Cell Transplantation of the Hannover Medical School (MHH), where she headed the laboratory "Regenerative Immune Therapies Applied" of the Excellence Cluster Rebirth.
Prof. Stripecke obtained her PhD at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg and her Habilitation at the University of Hamburg. She was a post-doctoral fellow and assistant professor at the University of Southern California (USC) and at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). She received the Special Fellow Award of The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and of the Howard Temin Award of the US-National Cancer Institute. She received research funding from the German Research Council (DFG), from the German Cancer Aid (DKH), from the German Center for Infections Research (DZIF) and from The Jackson Laboratory, among others.
The Translational Immune-Oncology develops and validates immunotherapies against leukemia, lymphoma and chronic herpes viruses for clinical uses:
Engineered T Cells
T cells are cells of the immune system that have the capacity to recognize antigens, produce inflammatory molecules, kill targets and maintain a long-term immunologic memory. We are engineering chimeric antigen receptor T cells (CAR T cells) that kill lymphoma cells and cells infected with Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV). The CRISPR / Cas9 gene editing technique is currently being used to make CAR T cells more effective, safer and more widely available for patients. These gene-edited CAR T cells are currently being tested pre-clinically in vitro and in vivo. The clinical development of CAR-T cells against lymphomas will follow as a cooperation with several clinicians at the University Hospital Cologne and biotech companies.
Engineered Dendritic Cells
Dendritic cells (DCs) are the professional antigen presenting cells of our immune system. Upon cancer and chronic infections, the function of DCs is affected and T cells are poorly activated. We developed tools to engineer DC precursors, so that they can be readily produced in clinical grade quality for infusion into patients with leukemia and other hematologic cancers.
Advanced mouse models for basic research and preclinical testing
Along with our cell engineering activities, we develop mouse models with implanted human cells. These models can sustain the development of a human immune system for several months. Thus, this opens a broad perspective to study the human immune system in vivo. For example, we use these models to understand the effects of herpes viruses (EBV and HCMV) in the immune responses. In addition, mice implanted with different types of human cells are being in development, so that we can merge the human immune system and the cancer in a single model. These models are in the forefront for testing the potency and safety of immunotherapeutic products, prior to their testing in patients.
Ongoing Collaborations at the University Hospital Cologne
Prof. Christof Scheid (GMP training and validation of CAR-T cells)
Prof. Florian Klein (Humanized mouse models)
Prof. Christian Pallasch (Dendritic cells and macrophages in humanized mice)
Dr. Sabine Awerkiew (EBV and lymphoma)
Dr. Hien Nguyen (Collaborator CMMC Research Project A 09 - Understanding the multifaceted regulation of T cell immunity in B cell lymphoma for improved immunotherapy)
Milita Darguzyte, PhD (Advanced mouse models)
Sabine Wilhelm (Lentiviral systems for cell engineering)
Jan-Malte Kleid, MSc (Gene edited CAR-T cells)
Michael Damrat, MSc (Gene edited CAR-T cells)