Immune repertoire longitudinal analyses in breast cancer during immunochemotherapy

Doctoral Researcher

Principal Investigator

Prof. Dr. rer. nat.

Associated Principal Investigator

Background and current state of research

Breast cancer is the most common malignant disease in women. An important pillar of treatment of breast cancer overexpressing the growth factor receptor HER2/neu, which accounts for 15-20% of tumours, is classical chemotherapy in combination with antibodies targeting HER2/neu, like trastuzumab and pertuzumab. Use of these antibodies leads, among other effects, to antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC). This is a mechanism of cellular immune reaction whereby an effector cell, such as a T-cell, kills a target cell with specific antibodies bound to surface antigens.

Our goals

In the interdisciplinary project “Breast Cancer Immunotherapy immunoProfiling”, a collaboration of the Women’s Hospital at the UKSH Kiel with the Institute of Clinical Molecular Biology, we investigate how such a treatment affects the T-cell repertoire — the collective of all T-cells in the body.

How to get there

We will use established T-cell genetic library preparation methods on blood samples collected from breast cancer patients undergoing immunochemotherapy. Next-generation sequencing methods will be used for sequencing of the genetic material. Then, we will perform a detailed analysis of the sequencing data using both established and newly developed bioinformatical pipelines and methods.