Research title: Low toxicity immunomodulation for cancer therapy and vaccine design
Research summary: My research in immunopharmacology focuses on identifying new molecular pathways regulated by purinergic signaling, nutritional control, metabolic byproducts and pathogen/danger associated molecular patterns to modulate immune responses.
Our previous studies have shown that:
- Immune cells can be stimulated without toxic side effects to obtain beneficial therapeutic outcomes (Mata–Haro, Cekic et al, Science 2007, Cekic et al, J. of Biol. Chem. 2009, J. Immunol. 2011)
- A metabolic byproduct adenosine can regulate immune cell homeostasis, inflammation and anti-tumor immune responses (Cekic et al. J. Immunol. 2012, Cekic et al, J. Exp. Med. 2013, Cekic et al, Cancer Res. 2014, Cekic and Linden, Cancer Res. 2014)
- Macrophage/monocyte polarization/survival in tumor microenvironment can be regulated by cholesterol accumulation in these cells (Sag, Cekic et al. Nature Commun. 2015)
Our studies employ transgenic mouse models, pharmacological assays to detect GPCR or TLR signaling events, in vivo and in vitro T cell activity assays, immunoassays for antigen-presenting cell activation, 14+ parameters flow cytometry and confocal microscopy.
By employing these techniques the ultimate goals of my studies is to understand the interaction between homeostatic, metabolic and immunological pathways and to develop novel therapeutic approaches to fight immune-related diseases.
Research Keywords: Adenosine receptors / toll-like receptors / immunology / tumor microenvironment / vaccine adjuvants.