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Visit 6: From Immunodiagnostics to Immunotherapy

The Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH) is deeply involved in the development of national and international research programmes in the field of personalised medicine. Discover the Institute’s latest findings in the fields of immunotherapy, novel anti-cancer approaches, biomarker and target discovery, immunodiagnostics and HIV infection.

 
   

The LIH will showcase the following topics:

  • New allergen portfolio: Discover why the LIH’s novel allergen portfolio for food, inhalant (household pets) and insect venom allergy is an important step forward towards developing immunoassays that detect allergen-specific IgE antibodies in a component-resolved approach (“molecular sIgE diagnosis”) and for developing novel allergen-specific immunotherapies.
  • Humanised mouse model for HIV infection: The latest biotechnological developments allow the implantation of genetically manipulated human stem cells or lineage precursor cells in mice. Such mouse models are highly innovative tools for the preclinical development of novel therapeutic approaches against HIV. The visit will highlight bioinformatics tools to monitor and predict drug resistance in HIV patients. These tools are innovative and highly efficient in the hands of doctors caring for HIV patients.
  • Mass cytometry and immune systems biology: The LIH performs a high-throughput biomarker and target search strategy using a combination of mass cytometry and immune systems biology. This novel approach  to identify relevant immune signatures and the underlying gene networks involved in the initiation and chronification as well as immunotherapy of immune-mediated diseases (e.g., in allergic diseases; in autoimmune diseases; or in infections) , has not been used in a relevant clinical-translational context before. Participate in an on-site visit to a state-of-the-art cytometry facility hosting mass cytometry (CyTOF2 technology) and high-end 18-colour flow cytometry (FACS-Fortessa analyser and Influx cell sorter).
  • Influenza vaccine: Current vaccines against influenza A virus must be adapted annually to match the new prevalent seasonal virus strains. The Department of Immunology works on the development of a universal influenza A vaccine that provides long-term protection against all seasonal and potentially pandemic strains in collaboration with SMEs and academic partners from four different countries.
  • Chemical carcinogenesis: The general objective of this project is to explore the potential of a prophylactic immune strategy based on carcinogen-specific antibodies to lower the risks of chemical carcinogenesis and investigate the pathophysiological significance of “natural” antibodies against small molecular weight chemical carcinogens in particular the ubiquitous environmental prototype carcinogens benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P).
  • Ticks and tick-borne pathogens: The LIH has developed a comprehensive genome, transcriptome and proteome database of the naïve midgut of I. ricinus, the tick that is the most important European disease vector (Borrelia and others). This database is used to identify potential vaccine candidate proteins by reverse vaccinology.
  • B cell repertoire: The LIH’s innovative vaccination strategies are supported by advances in high throughput; multiparallel DNA sequencing technologies have made it possible to investigate the complexity and dynamics of the repertoire of antigen-specific B cell receptors at unprecedented depth. This technique is of interest to characterise and understand clonal evolution of antibody producing cells in normal and pathological immune processes. Cutting-edge bioinformatics tools have been developed to analyse large immunoglobulin heavy chain (IgH) CDR3 sequence datasets. Dissection of the BCR repertoire has the potential to retrospectively analyse immune responses and potentially reconstruct the history of past antigen encounters.
  • Immunotherapy, towards novel anti-cancer approaches: Cancer immunotherapy has recently emerged as a promising treatment of several cancers for which conventional therapies have failed. Recent proof-of-concept clinical trials have been successful and increased our understanding of the mechanisms regulating tumour cell cytotoxicity mediated by immune cells. Discover the use of a wide range of state-of-the-art technologies  including genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic analyses, in vivo bioluminescent imaging and magnetic resonance imaging contribute to the discovery of new biomarkers to be used in precision medicine and immunotherapy. The Department of Oncology is highly active in the development of novel animal models has access to valuable tumour material for research purposes and is involved in clinical studies.

Read more: Luxembourg Institute of Health