Program area I investigates the highly complex interactions of different immune cells with each other and with the cells of the organism to understand how the immune system ensures the health of the organism. Dysfunctions lead to severe diseases such as tumors, chronic inflammation and autoimmunity or to undesired, potentially fatal rejection reactions after organ transplants. Program area I is the interface between basic research and translational research to discover starting points and target structures of new immunotherapeutic approaches and their relevance for targeted immunotherapeutic manipulations. All scientific groups of the program area cooperate within the framework of translational projects closely with scientists from program area II.
Program area II focuses specifically on the preclinical development of immune cell therapeutics. This includes the identification, differentiation, expansion and preclinical testing of therapeutically relevant immune cell populations, but also their functional manipulation and optimization by genetic, epigenetic or pharmacological interventions. Program area II integrates and transfers findings on immunoregulatory mechanisms and target structures from program area I into therapeutically applicable cell therapies. Sophisticated development projects are transferred to program area III in preparation for clinical testing. Strategically, the program area is to be supplemented by a W2 professorship for T cell therapy in 2020.
The clinical translation of scientific findings is an important goal of the RCI. The RCI therefore emphasizes on the development and implementation of clinical trials. Program area III focuses on the clinical implementation of the results and therapy strategies developed in program areas I and II. This is done in close cooperation with clinical partners.
Core area is the GMP-compliant production of new cell therapeutics at the José-Carreras-Centre as a prerequisite for clinical testing and clinical application of the cell therapies developed at the RCI at cooperating clinical trial centers.
Program area III also includes a platform for handling regulatory requirements for the conduct of clinical trials (GCP-platform) and a platform for immunomonitoring.