Κεντρική σελίδα

Group of Cancer Immunology (GCIM)

The Cancer Immunology group belongs to the Department of Animal and Human Physiology (Director Prof. I. Beis) and is headed by Assistant Professor Ourania Tsitsilonis. The group has extensive experience in the fields of tumor immunology and immunotherapy. The interest of the research team focuses on the activity of soluble immunomodulatory molecules (mainly of thymic peptides/polypeptides) on the functionality of lymphocytes and their subpopulations. They also analyze the mechanisms of action of biologic response modifiers underlying their effects, leading to enhanced immune responses versus endogenous and exogenous stimulations. Moreover, the group studies the effects of novel compounds (natural products and synthetic drug analogues/derivatives) capable of optimizing lymphocyte activation against cancer. The Cancer Immunology group is already involved in several projects (National and International), in an effort to evaluate the efficacy of pharmaceutical components such as monoclonal antibodies (e.g. Mo17-1A) and anticancer drugs (e.g. phenoxodiol, diterpenoids, synthetic analogues of mitoxanthrone, MIF inhibitors). In this respect, potentiation of the immune system’s function, as mediated by the administration of the soluble immunomodulatory polypeptide prothymosin α is being extensively studied. The group recently elucidated the mode of action of prothymosin α on human lymphocytes and the means via which prothymosin α activates cytotoxic lymphocytes (NK cells and CTL). They also revealed the immunologically active site of prothymosin α, a decapeptide located at the C-terminus of the molecule, spanning residues 100-109. The ability of prothymosin α and of its active fragment to enhance the deficient immune responses of cancer patients, as well as its effect in retarding tumor growth in cancer-bearing mice is currently under investigation. The ultimate goal is to utilize these compounds as adjuvants alone or in combination with cytokines for treating cancer patients, since the latter applies to a research area of major importance in clinical immunology and immunotherapy.