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Inducing anti-tumor immunity with cellular reprogramming

Principle Investigators Filipe Pereira and Cristiana Pires

An important hallmark of cancer is to evade the immune system. We have shown that cancer cells can be reprogrammed to immunogenic dendritic cells with 3 transcription factors. We are now recruiting a post-doctoral fellow to develop in vivo reprogramming as a novel approach to cancer immunotherapy, in close collaboration between Asgard Therapeutics and the Pereira Lab.

Cellular reprogramming can be achieved experimentally in different ways, including expression of transcription factors, which has been mainly explored in regenerative medicine. We have pioneered cell fate reprogramming approaches in immunology with induced dendritic cells (Rosa et al, Science Immunology 2018; Rosa et al, Science Immunology 2022). We have also shown recently that the same combination of factors reprograms tumor cells into antigen presenting cells (Zimmermannova et al, In revision). This project will aim to test a cancer immunotherapy approach based in in-vivo dendritic cell reprogramming of tumor cells to reinstate anti-tumor immunity. This approach combines dendritic cells’ antigen processing and presentation ability with the endogenous generation of tumor antigens. This conceptual shift represents a pioneering contribution by merging cellular reprogramming and cancer immunotherapy.

This project will be performed in close collaboration between the Pereira Lab at Lund University and Asgard Therapeutics. The Pereira Lab is generously funded by the Wallenberg Centre for Molecular Medicine, ERC consolidator, Swedish research council consolidator and Swedish cancer foundation grants. Asgard Therapeutics is a spin-off from Lund University pioneering cancer immunotherapies based in in-vivo reprogramming, and is supported by seasoned VC investors, Novo Holdings (DK), Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund (DE) and Industrifonden (SE).

Key requirements:

  • PhD in immunology, immune-oncology, tumor immunology, or similar, recently graduated or with less than 3 years of post-graduation experience in academic or industrial environment.
  • Documented knowledge in tumor immunology, with practical experience in in-vivo evaluation of cancer immunotherapies using mouse syngeneic mouse models.
  • Further requirements include a strong publication record, very good communication skills, and oral and written proficiency in English.

Advantageous skills/knowledge:

  • The candidate should be an enthusiastic and motivated scientist willing to join a dynamic collaborative project between academia and industry with translational focus.
  • Practical experience with multiparametric flow cytometry, cell sorting and immunohistochemistry /immunofluorescence microscopy, or immunopeptidomics is a merit.
  • Experience in dendritic cell biology and antigen presentation mechanisms is a merit, T cell biology is also attractive.
  • Experience in analysis of RNA sequencing data and bioinformatics including R and/or Python is a merit.

Partners: Asgard Therapeutics AB; Medicon Village, Lund

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