Targeted radionuclide therapy (TRT) is a systemic treatment with radioactive labeled cancer-specific probes purposed to selectively hit diseased cells. As radioactive labels α- or β-emitters are used, which release their energy in the proximity of the cancer cells, thereby causing irreparable DNA damage. Several (pre)clinical studies show the high potential of TRT to control tumor growth. However, little is known about the role of the immune system in the tumor control achieved by TRT. I will first study the anti-cancer immune response elicited by TRT. I will study the composition and function of the tumor’s immune infiltrate. I will moreover evaluate immuno-imaging as a platform to document the tumor’s immune contexture. Based on this knowledge, I intend to further unleash the immune system after TRT by combining it with immunotherapy. I will perform cancer vaccination and/or immune checkpoint inhibition, depending on the necessity to induce or sustain anti-cancer immune responses. TRT and immunotherapy are two strategies that have already delivered
impressive results on their own. It is expected that a synergistic effect will be achieved when these two branches intersect.