SRP-Groeifinanciering: Unravelling the host-parasite interactions that result in B cell destruction during trypanosomosis and development of novel intervention strategies focusing on diagnosis and anti B cell cancer therapy

Project Details


Trypanosomes are extracellular protozoan parasites that evade elimination by the mammalian immune system through a myriad of strategies. One of these consists of directly abolishing the antibody producing capacity of the host via the destruction of B cells. To date, the parasite-mediated molecular mechanisms leading to B cell destruction remain largely enigmatic. Hence, this proposal aims foremost at gaining fundamental insights into the immune-destructive capacity of the parasite. This requires identifying the involved cell signaling pathways and obtaining detailed mechanistic insights into the action of effector molecules employed by the trypanosome. These goals will be achieved using various “omics” technologies. In addition, this proposal includes three translational research aspects. First, we will target the identified effector molecules to develop diagnostic tests for parasite detection. Second, the study of the structure-function relationship of these effector molecules is expected to provide a sound molecular basis for the design of novel anti- parasite intervention strategies. Third and finally, we propose to hijack the immune-destructive mechanisms of trypanosomes and employ them in situations where the elimination of B cells would be of therapeutic advantage. Based on the acquired mechanistic insights, the final aim is to develop novel strategies to intervene in B cell malignancies such as lymphoid cell cancers.
Effective start/end date1/03/1929/02/24


  • cancer therapy

Flemish discipline codes

  • Other (bio)medical engineering not elsewhere classified