Van den Eynde Group: for non-scientists
Immunotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses the body’s immune system to fight cancer. As cancer is an expansion of the body’s own cells, there is a delicate balance between removal of these bad cells to fight cancer and attacking normal cells. Several clinical approaches, including the so-called adoptive cell therapies, checkpoint blockade and therapeutic cancer vaccines, have been developed to boost the immune system to reject tumour cells. Our lab aims to develop next-generation cancer vaccines, which work in the same way as vaccines against infectious diseases, but instead of stimulating the immune system to destroy bacteria and viruses, cancer vaccines train the immune system to kill abnormal cells before they become cancer (preventive cancer vaccines) and kill developed cancer cells (therapeutic cancer vaccines). Combining therapeutic cancer vaccines with other immunotherapies has the potential to stimulate effective immune responses to destroy cancer cells. We are focusing on validating these novel cancer therapy approaches in pre-clinical studies and developing them for use in the clinic.