Cavallo Federica Full Professor (Principal Investigator)
Quaglino Elena - Associate Professor (Principal Investigator)
The Tumor Immunology Unit has a long experience in the development and testing of anti-tumor vaccines for the treatment of cancer in the pre-clinical setting. In the last years, the group has focused its interest on the identification of new cancer biomarkers and antigens expressed by mammary cancer stem cells (CSC). This approach led us to the identification of the role of HMGB1/TLR2 axis in CSC self-renewal, which is still a subject of active research in the lab. Another CSC-associated molecule that is currently under study is xCT, a key player in cellular redox balance with a role in malignant features of cancer cells. We have developed different anti-xCT vaccination strategies able to induce a potent humoral response able to impair tumor growth and lung metastasis. We are currently dissecting the contribution of xCT in the complex crosstalk between cancer cells and immune system, as well as the interaction of xCT with the mTORC2/AKT pathway, in collaboration with Prof. Vincenzo Calautti. Another membrane molecule - Teneurin 4 - is now under investigation as vaccination target in breast cancer. Besides breast cancer immunotherapy, we are currently studying the possibility of applying maternal immunization to ALK-expressing glioblastoma and of treating lung cancer with anti-ROS1 vaccine in cancer-prone mice. Finally, a promising field of research in the lab is the study of anti-CSPG4 vaccination in client-owned dogs affected by malignant melanoma or osteosarcoma, in collaboration with the Veterinary Teaching Hospital of Grugliasco.