The Chemical Immunology group from Martijn Verdoes (RIMLS) joined forces with two Organic Chemistry groups (Jeroen Codee and Dima Filippov) and a Chemical Biology group (Sander van Kasteren) from Leiden University, and Immunology groups at the AmsterdamUMC (Yvette van Kooyk) and the LUMC (Ferry Ossendorp) to form a consortium to develop new cancer vaccines. Funding for this consortium was granted by the Institute for Chemical Immunology (ICI).
Five PhD students will work in close collaboration to synthesize multimodal vaccine conjugates to specifically deliver tumor epitopes and immunomodulating adjuvants to dendritic cells with the aim to elicit specific T cell responses. Using state-of-the-art chemical strategies and super-resolution imaging techniques, conjugates bearing bioorthogonal trackable epitopes will be characterized at cell biological level. This will provide valuable structure-activity relationship data when correlated to in vitro and in vivo immunological outcome, which will allow the consortium to rationally design further optimized vaccine conjugates.