Our research focus

Gastrointestinal Cancer models

With the advancement of immunotherapies, new cancer models are needed that mimic both the tumour cells as well as the normal body cells present in cancer tissues to test the effectiveness of therapies. We develop novel murine cancer models by establishing organoids, 3-D miniature organ-like structures, from gastric and colorectal cancers tissues. These organoids represent new models enabling the testing of genetic variation in the tumour cells or the tumour microenvironment selectively and the testing of new immunotherapies.

Cytokine signalling

Cytokines are signalling molecules that mediate the crosstalk between cancer cells and the normal cells within cancerous tissue. Depending on the source of the cytokine and the responding cell type, the impact can either be tumour promoting or tumour inhibitory. We are studying, two cytokine signalling pathways, IL33/ST2 and IL6/IL11/STAT3. Both are highly active in gastro-intestinal cancers and generate an immunosuppressive microenvironment. We study how they promote primary tumour growth, metastasis formation and responses to (immuno)therapies.

Immunotherapy

Immunotherapies are drugs that manipulate the body’s own immune cells to attack cancers. One class of immunotherapies, the immune checkpoint inhibitors, has strongly improved therapy outcomes for many different cancer types. However, in gastric and colorectal cancer only a minority of patients respond to these therapies. We study the role of cytokine signalling in the anti-tumour responses to immune checkpoint blockade. Additionally, we investigate, if inhibition of these cytokine signalling pathways can improve the efficacy of immunotherapies against gastric and colorectal cancers.

Recent publications

ScienceDirect

Generation of gene-of-interest knockouts in murine organoids using CRISPR-Cas9

DOI: 10.1016/j.xpro.2023.102076

17 March 2023

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Frontiers

IL33 and Mast Cells-The Key Regulators of Immune Responses in Gastrointestinal Cancers?

DOI: 10.3389/fimmu.2020.01389

3 July 2020

View abstract
Nature

IL-33-mediated mast cell activation promotes gastric cancer through macrophage mobilization

DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-10676-1

21 June 2019

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Our team

Meet our researchers

  • Dr Moritz Eissmann - Head, Cytokine and Cancer Signalling Group Publications
  • Amr Allam - Postdoctoral Research Fellow
  • Anne Huber – Postdoctoral Research Fellow
  • Saumya Jacob – Research Assistant
  • Josh Konecnik – Research Assistant