772007 The molecular mechanisms of cancer immunotherapies

Semester hours
Lecturer (assistant)
Traxlmayr, Michael
Offered in
Sommersemester 2024
Languages of instruction


The lecture starts with the basics in immunology, with a focus on the adaptive arm of the immune system. In particular, the biochemical and immunological features of antibodies and T cell receptors will be discussed, including the mechanisms by which the immune system adapts these molecules for recognition of foreign antigens. Next, the basic principles of protein engineering will be discussed. This part of the lecture will cover the most frequently used protein engineering methods (phage display, yeast display and ribosome display), with a focus on engineering antibodies and antibody fragments. Affinity and avidity will be discussed as well in order to better understand antibody immune responses and antibody engineering strategies. Finally, current approaches in cancer immunotherapy will be discussed by building on the acquired background knowledge on immunology and protein engineering. It will be described how protein engineering can be used to either amplify natural immune responses against cancer cells (e.g. checkpoint inhibitors) or to initiate new responses (e.g. CAR T cells and monoclonal antibodies directed against tumor antigens). In general, the main focus of the lecture will be the linkage of the biochemical features of molecules of the immune system with their immunological function. Furthermore, we will discuss how those immunological molecules such as antibodies or T cell receptors can be artificially engineered in order to induce or enhance immune responses against cancer cells.

Previous knowledge expected

Objective (expected results of study and acquired competences)

The students will be able to describe the basic mechanisms of immune responses and the principles of protein engineering strategies. Finally, students will be able to describe how protein engineering approaches can be used to induce or enhance immune responses against cancer cells.
You can find more details like the schedule or information about exams on the course-page in BOKUonline.