Cancer Immunotherapy


The contributions of UCT Mainz members to tumor immunology and cancer immunotherapy emanated from a four-decade-long investment in immunology. Activities range from excellent basic to translational research with early interventional trials. Immunotherapy represents a key translational research focus within the UCT Mainz and the entire Medical Faculty. Local, regional, national as well international collaboration platforms initiated by UCT Mainz members strengthen and promote translational research and provide substantial outreach capacities to pharmaceutical companies and regulatory authorities as well (FZI, Ci3, CIMT). Spinoff companies (BioNTech, TRON) form a hub to translate innovative concepts originating from the UCT Mainz research into clinical applications. 

To meet the challenges of multifaceted immune escape mechanisms mounted in the course of tumor-host interactions and by tumor plasticity, the cancer immunotherapy program of the UCT Mainz will encourage and support the development of combined modality approaches, e.g. target-specific immunotherapy together with checkpoint blockade, irradiation and/or signal transduction inhibition, and will foster the design of precision immunotherapy regimes involving diverse mechanisms of tumor recognition. In addition, we will establish a UCT Mainz-wide (re)biopsy program linked to an Immune Oncology Board to support translational research and innovative treatment strategies.

Research Groups

Most significant publications since 2019

  • Mackensen, A., Haanen, J., Koenecke, C., Alsdorf, W., Wagner-Drouet, E., Borchmann, P., Heudobler, D., Ferstl, B., Klobuch, S., Bokemeyer, C., Desuki, A., Lüke, F., Kutsch, N., Müller, F., Smit, E., Hillemanns, P., Karagiannis, P., Wiegert, E., He, Y., Ho, T., Kang-Fortner, Q., Schlitter, A.M., Schulz-Eying, C., Finlayson, A., Flemmig, C., Kühlcke, K., Preußner, L., Rengstl, B., Türeci, Ö., Şahin, U. 2023. CLDN6-specific CAR-T cells plus amplifying RNA vaccine in relapsed or refractory solid tumors: the phase 1 BNT211-01 trial. Nat Med29(11)

  • Weber, D., Ibn-Salem, J., Sorn, P., Suchan, M., Holtsträter, C., Lahrmann, U., Vogler, I., Schmoldt, K., Lang, F., Schrörs, B., Löwer, M., Sahin, U. 2022. Accurate detection of tumor-specific gene fusions reveals strongly immunogenic personal neo-antigens. Nat Biotechnol. 40(8), 1276-1284. 
  • Legscha, K.J., Antunes Ferreira, E., Chamoun, A., Lang, A., Awwad, M.H.S., Ton, G., Galetzka, D., Guezguez, B., Hundemer, M., Bourdon, J-C., Munder, M., Theobald, M., Echchannaoui, H. 2021. Δ133p53α enhances metabolic and cellular fitness of TCR-engineered T cells and promotes superior antitumor immunity. J Immunother Cancer. 9(6). 
  • Schaupp L, Muth S, Rogell L, Kofoed-Branzk M, Melchior F, Lienenklaus S, Ganal-Vonarburg SC, Klein M, Guendel F, Hain T, Schütze K, Grundmann U, Schmitt V, Dorsch M, Spanier J, Larsen PK, Schwanz T, Jäckel S, Reinhardt C, Bopp T, Danckwardt S, Mahnke K, Heinz GA, Mashreghi MF, Durek P, Kalinke U, Kretz O, Huber TB, Weiss S, Wilhelm C, Macpherson AJ, Schild H, Diefenbach A, Probst HC. 2020. Microbiota-Induced Type I Interferons Instruct a Poised Basal State of Dendritic Cells. Cell. 181(5), 1080-1096.e1019. 
  • Sahin U, Oehm P, Derhovanessian E, Jabulowsky RA, Vormehr M, Gold M, Maurus D, Schwarck-Kokarakis D, Kuhn AN, Omokoko T, Kranz LM, Diken M, Kreiter S, Haas H, Attig S, Rae R, Cuk K, Kemmer-Brück A, Breitkreuz A, Tolliver C, Caspar J, Quinkhardt J, Hebich L, Stein M, Hohberger A, Vogler I, Liebig I, Renken S, Sikorski J, Leierer M, Müller V, Mitzel-Rink H, Miederer M, Huber C, Grabbe S, Utikal J, Pinter A, Kaufmann R, Hassel JC, Loquai C, Türeci Ö. 2020. An RNA vaccine drives immunity in checkpoint-inhibitor-treated melanoma. Nature. 585(7823), 107-112.
  • Reinhard K, Rengstl B, Oehm P, Michel K, Billmeier A, Hayduk N, Klein O, Kuna K, Ouchan Y, Wöll S, Christ E, Weber D, Suchan M, Bukur T, Birtel M, Jahndel V, Mroz K, Hobohm K, Kranz L, Diken M, Kühlcke K, Türeci O, Sahin U. 2020. An RNA vaccine drives expansion and efficacy of claudin-CAR-T cells against solid tumors. Science. 367(6476), 446-453.
  • Türeci O, Sahin U, Schulze-Bergkamen H, Zvirbule Z, Lordick F, Koeberle D, Thuss-Patience P, Ettrich T, Arnold D, Bassermann F, Al-Batran SE, Wiechen K, Dhaene K, Maurus D, Glod M, Huber C, Krivoshik A, Arozullah A, Park JW, Schuler M. 2019. A multicentre, phase 2a study of zolbetuximab as a single agent in patients with recurrent or refractory advanced adenocarcinoma of the stomach or lower oesophagus: the MONO study. Ann Oncol. 30(9):1487-1495.
  • Graf C, Wilgenbus P, Pagel S, Pott J, Marini F, Reyda S, Kitano M, Macher-Göppinger S, Weiler H, Ruf W. 2019. Myeloid cell-synthesized coagulation factor X dampens antitumor immunity. Science immunology. 4(39).

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