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Annelisa Cornel

PhD student
Annelisa Cornel

Tackling key immune escape regulators to develop effective immunotherapy for neuroblastoma

Neuroblastoma is the most common extracranial solid tumor in children, accounting for approximate 15% of all pediatric oncology deaths worldwide. Despite intensive treatment, including immunotherapy, prognosis of high-risk neuroblastoma is poor.

Neuroblastoma tumors are "infamous" for their advanced immunumodulatory capacity, thereby evading clearance of the tumor by the immune system. One of the most remarkable immunomodulatory mechanisms observed in neuroblastoma is the lack of major histocompatibility complex I (MHC-I) expression in these tumors, which is thought to be the result of the embryonal origin of the tumor. As cytotoxic T-cells recognize their targets in MHC-I context, expression of MHC-I is key to improve T-cellengagement to fight neuroblastoma. 

In this project, we investigate pharmacological- and cell therapy based strategies to upregulate MHC-I expression in neuroblastoma. This way, we aim to identify new T-cell engaging immunotherapeutic strategies to further improve neuroblastoma therapy efficacy .