Defense is a key strategy in many domains: in the jungle, in sport, in war, but also in the human body. In humans a dedicated system, called the immune system, is able to specifically discriminate between potentially harmful and harmless agents, and react accordingly. Increasing evidence shows that cancer cells, despite belonging to the human body, can be recognized and successfully eliminated if our immune system has been optimally trained. Yet, as exemplified by the increasing number of cancer patients worldwide, elimination of tumors is often unsuccessful, due to numerous strategies employed by cancer cells to impair immune cell function.
Our research focuses on elucidating the characteristics and function of cytokine secreting immune cell populations in cancer patients. We are using a combination of complementary high-throughput innovative technologies to analyse patient samples and define individual cells in the tumor microenvironment. This strategy will allow us to identify potential therapeutic targets, with the eventual aim of restoring immune function and clearing cancer cells. This novel treatment strategy, immunotherapy, is adhering to the proverb which says, the best defense is a good offense.
The Lab and lab tools
Our laboratory is located in the Centre Médicale Universitaire “CMU” at the Department of Pathology and Immunology (PATIM), at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Geneva (https://www.unige.ch/medecine/pati/en/), integrated in a highly interdisciplinary and dynamic environment that fosters high-quality research activities. We are part of the Swiss Cancer Center Léman (SCCL) (https://sccl.ch/), an alliance of the region’s top-notch academic and clinical forces engaged in the fight against cancer. Our laboratory is also a member of the Translational Center of Research in Oncohematology (CRTOH) (https://www.unige.ch/medecine/translatoncohemato/en/), whose goal is the rapid translation of discoveries in biomedical sciences into treatments for cancer patients. Furthermore, since 2019, Camilla Jandus has been appointed as Adjunct Scientist at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research. This is an international non-for-profit organization which supports distinguished scientists from around the world, in their research dedicated to preventing and controlling cancer (https://www.ludwigcancerresearch.org/).
We have access to state-of-the-art technologies on the UNIGE Campus, including genomics, proteomics, flow cytometry, microscopy, bioinformatics and animal facilities. We also actively collaborate with the Ecole Polytéchnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) (www.epfl.ch), to develop and validate innovative nanobiosensors for single cell profiling.