OÄ PD Dr. med. Jessica C. Hassel


Getting rid of immune suppressors ...


and helping the immune system to fight melanoma.

NCT Clinical Cancer Program - Melanoma


Our group/department has:

  • Clinical Research: In the last years we established a very well organized clinical trial center with 3 subinvestigators and 2 study nurses and were top-recruiters world-wide in different multi-center trials (figure 3). 2 sponsor-audits in 2011 and 2012 gave best marks to the conduction of trials in our center. In addition we started 2 Investigator-initiated trials, namely CTLA-4/Ny-Eso-1 (PI Prof. Jäger) and TaMe (PI Dr. Hassel).
  • Preclinical Research: The preclinical work has discovered novel suppressive means of different leukocyte subpopulations. For instance adenosine has been identified as a major immune suppressor released in skin and during tumor development. Novel antibody targeting approaches have been tested in animal models leading to a more thorough understanding as to how the balance between tolerogenic and immunogenic cells and signals work in vivo. The different approaches of anti-Melanoma therapy investigated in the lab are outlined in figure 4.
  • The importance of the skin not just as a physical barrier is further underlined by a recent attempt to establish a new SFB-TRR with the title “The skin as sensor and effector organ for local and systemic immune responses”. Under guidance of Prof. Enk and the Department of Dermatology, the University-Hospitals of Mainz, Tübingen and Heidelberg join forces to decipher the function of the skin for Immunity. This initiative passed the initial review.

2010 – 2013

  • Flaherty KT, Robert C, Hersey P, Nathan P, Garbe C, Milhem M, Demidov LV, Hassel JC, Rutkowski P, Mohr P, Dummer R, Trefzer U, Larkin JM,  , Dreno B, Nyakas M, Middleton MR, Becker JC, Casey M, Sherman LJ, Wu FS, Ouellet D, Martin AM, Patel K, Schadendorf D; METRIC Study Group. Improved survival with MEK inhibition in BRAF-mutated melanoma. N Engl J Med. 2012 Jul 12;367(2):107-14
  • Chemovirotherapy of malignant melanoma with a targeted and armed oncolytic measles virus. Kaufmann JK, Bossow S, Grossardt C, Sawall S, Kupsch J, Erbs P, Hassel JC, von Kalle C, Enk AH, Nettelbeck DM, Ungerechts G. J Invest Dermatol. 2013 Apr;133(4):1034-42
  • Regulatory T cells stimulate B7-H1 expression in myeloid-derived suppressor cells in ret melanomas. Fujimura T, Ring S, Umansky V, Mahnke K, Enk AH. J Invest Dermatol. 2012 Apr;132(4):1239-46
  • Non-small cell lung cancer induces an immunosuppressive phenotype of dendritic cells in tumor microenvironment by upregulating B7-H3. Schneider T, Hoffmann H, Dienemann H, Schnabel PA, Enk AH, Ring S, Mahnke K.
    J Thorac Oncol. 2011 Jul;6(7):1162-8
  • Selectivity and efficiency of late transgene expression by transcriptionally targeted oncolytic adenoviruses are dependent on the transgene insertion strategy. Quirin C, Rohmer S, Fernández-Ulibarri I, Behr M, Hesse A, Engelhardt S, Erbs P, Enk AH, Nettelbeck DM.
    Hum Gene Ther. 2011 Apr;22(4):389-404.
  • Gap junctions between regulatory T cells and dendritic cells prevent sensitization of CD8(+) T cells. Ring S, Karakhanova S, Johnson T, Enk AH, Mahnke K.
    J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2010 Jan;125(1):237-46