The translational research of the group focuses on immunosuppressive catabolism of tryptophan and novel targets for active immunotherapy of gliomas.
The group has:
- identified and patented a synthetic tryptophan catabolite capable of inducing regulatory T cells (Science 2005, 310:850-855, PCT/US2006/001241). This orally active compound is now in clinical trials in patients with autoimmune diseases (NCT01052987, NCT00882024).
- developed and patented novel tools to monitor tryptophan catabolism on a single cell level (PLoS Biol 2007, IPC8: AC12Q102FI). These activities have resulted in the integration into the new SFB 938 Collaborative Research Group “Micromilieu control of immunological reactivity” with a joint project with the CCU Neurooncology.
- identified key immunosuppressive activities of commonly used drugs that interfere with the angiotensin system indicating that these drugs may be useful for the treatment of autoimmune diseases (Proc Natl Acad Sci 2009, 106:14948-14953; J Clin Invest 2010, 120:2782-94).
- identified and patented a tryptophan catabolic pathway that is constitutively active in tumors and drives tumor formation via direct and host-mediated effects via the xenobiotic aryl hydrocarbon receptor. This is the first identification of an endogenous ligand for this receptor in a pathophysiologically relevant context (Nature 2011, 478:197-203).
- developed and patented a peptide vaccine targeting mutant IDH1 in gliomas with companion diagnostic to evaluate specific T- and B cell responses to mutant IDH1 in patients (WO 2013/102641 A1)