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Immunology Division

The Immunology Division seeks to understand the nature of tumor antigens including their optimal presentation and the regulatory mechanisms that govern the immune system. The purpose is to develop innovative immunotherapy intervention strategies for the treatment of cancer.

The key steps in the generation of a tumor-specific immune response include loading of tumor antigens onto professional antigen-presenting cells (APCs) in vitro or in vivo, presenting antigen in the appropriate immune stimulatory environment, activating helper and cytotoxic lymphocytes, and blocking autoregulatory control mechanisms.

AFP is considered to be a potential target antigen for immunotherapy of HCC. Since dendritic cells (DCs) are the most potent APCs of the immune system and crucial in the initiation of the immune response against tumors, MRIN currently explores the possibility of using fragments of AFP and AFP derived peptide epitopes for the stimulation of DCs in order to increase their capacity to elicit tumor-specific T cell responses. MRIN also interested in studying the mechanisms underlying tumor immune tolerance, for instance in HCC, provided by regulatory T cells. In the future we will extend our research on utilizing other tumor-specific antigens for cancer immunotherapy.

The Division is equipped with cell culture facility, and instrumentation for ELISA, Western Blotting and Flow Cytometry that enable us to analyze the expression of surface markers, extracellular as well as intracellular molecules.

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