Research line II: aNK cells in solid tumors

Tumor Immunology & Immunotherapy Group's exploration of a new subset of NK cells so called adaptive NK cells (aNK cells) in solid tumors.

Project I

Study mechanism of aNK cell memory in solid tumors

This project aims to explore a new subset of NK cells called adaptive NK cells(aNK cells) in solid tumors , which are characterized by immune memory formation against specific antigens. It has been noted that aNK cells possess specific recall responses towards cytomegalovirus infection (CMV) and cytokine stimulation, but the role of aNK cells in solid tumors remains less studied, therefore, we are working on aNK cells in solid tumor and related memory mechanisms, which can be applied in cancer immunotherapy.

Project II


Due to the recent advances in the NK cell-based immunotherapies and our discovery of optimal properties of NK cells, making them a great target for immunotherapies, this project focuses on optimizing an expansion protocol of adaptive NK cells. Our group, among others, has demonstrated that these immune cells possess memory-like function and resistance to the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment (TME), which are great properties for efficient immunotherapies, especially against solid tumors.

Project III

Studies of the effect of CMV infection in NK cell memory in glioblastoma tumors

In this project, we aim to investigate aNK cell infiltration, function, tumor recognition, resistant capacity to TME suppression, metabolic fitness, and the aNK cell prognostic value in patients with CMV-related tumors. Does CMV-infection in solid tumors improve aNK cellular responses and correlate with treatment efficacy? Besides wet lab investigations, we are performing bioinformatic analysis on TCGA or ICGC data to address these questions in bigger patient cohorts. We are comparing this data and improve the knowledge on aNK cell metabolism in GBM TME. For this, we are using tumor tissues that are obtained from glioblastoma patients after surgery. TILs and tumor cells are isolated from tumors, and 3D cultures (spheroids, organoids) have been optimized in order to understand the TME of Glioblastoma (GBM).

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