iMECHs: Inhibitory MECHanisms exerted by melanoma cells and their environment

Project Details


The link between chronic inflammation (the 7th hallmark of cancer) and tumor progression is longstanding. There is a delicate balance between tumor progression and tumor control. Tilting this balance in one direction or the other is determined by the onset, duration and type of inflammatory response. Tumor-specific cytotoxic T cells (CTLs) are one of the most important factors that control tumor growth. In order to efficiently eliminate tumor cells, these CTLs need to be productively activated by antigen-presenting cells, of which dendritic cells are the most potent. In theory the immune system can recognize and kill tumor cells. Nevertheless, objective tumor regression is rarely observed in cancer patients. This can be explained by the fact that tumors exploit several mechanisms to suppress tumor-specific immune responses. In addition, different immune cells with inhibitory functions are present in the tumor, lymph nodes and blood of cancer patients. These include regulatory T cells and immature myeloid cells. Consequently, effective immunotherapy will require a multifaceted approach, inducing effector T cells, whilst circumventing inhibitory mechanisms. However, the latter are not fully understood. Therefore, this project aspires to study inhibitory mechanisms within the tumor and its environment, as such allowing the rational design of novel treatments.
Effective start/end date1/01/1131/12/14


  • Tonic Pain
  • Dendritic Cells
  • Evoked Potentials
  • Bispecific Antibodies
  • Immunotherapy
  • Immunology
  • Oncology

Flemish discipline codes

  • Basic sciences
  • Biological sciences
  • Materials engineering