Aim of this research group is to design therapeutically usable concepts in the form of immunotoxins,
bispecific constructs and CAR T cells based on specific lymphoma B cell receptor target antigens, which had previously been identified in the José Carreras Center Homburg.
We designated this approach as BARs (B-cell receptor antigens for reverse targeting). The goal of our group is to integrate BARs into different treatment strategies like immunotoxins, bispecific T-cell engager and CAR T-cells.
Some of these strategies proved to be effective in preclinical models and we are currently working on reproducing our results in mouse models. Further on, we also want to bring these new treatments into clinical application.
The great potential of BARs lies in its exclusive specificity for malignant cells with the specific surface BCR. They can be expected to be less toxic than the currently available bispecific T-cell engaging antibodies, because they leave all other cells, in particular normal B-lymphocytes, unaffected.
Allogeneic stem cell transplantation is often complicated through CMV infection. Therapy of CMV infection is difficult and associated with severe side effects like kidney injury and bone marrow suppression.
Using phage display technology, we try to isolate and identify antibodies that target different CMV fragments that are presented on the cell surface in MHC I complexes. We incorporate identified antibodies into possible therapeutic formats and test these constructs for efficacy against CMV infected cells.
For this we use established cell lines as well as primary fibroblasts derived from donors with known MHC status.