Participant 1 | LIT

The Leibniz Institute for Immunotherapy (LIT) is a research institute dedicated to the development of novel, curative immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer, chronic inflammation, and autoimmune disease. The Institute’s unique approach is to combine basic immunology and translational research to develop next-generation immune cell therapies. The institute is equipped with modern infrastructures, including the José Carreras Center for Somatic Cell Therapy, a state-of-the-art facility that specializes in pharmaceutical development and GMP-compliant production of cell therapeutics.

Prof. Luca Gattinoni is the director of the LIT division of Functional Immune Cell Modulation and T-FITNESS project coordinator. A major focus of his work has been to understand how the differentiation state affects the ability of adoptively transferred T cells to eradicate tumors. Within this framework, he discovered a subset of memory T cells endowed with stem cell–like attributes (stem cell memory T cells, TSCM cells) and provided the first evidence that these cells mediate superior antitumor responses after adoptive transfer. Currently, his research team is devoted to reprogramming T cell fate and function. Strategies encompass the pharmacological or genetic manipulation of transcription factors, epigenetic regulators, microRNAs, and metabolic pathways to promote stem cell-like behavior in T cells. By enhancing T cell stemness, Prof. Gattinoni aims to enable T cells to endure long-lasting battles against cancer stem cell-sustained tumors.

Within T-FITNESS, LIT will be primarily responsible for characterizing phenotype, function, and metabolism of T cells reprogrammed with T-FITNESS technology and determining whether this approach can be successfully applied to prevent T cell exhaustion.

Luca Gattinoni
T-FITNESS Coordinator, Director of Division of Functional Immune Cell Modulation
Christoph Heuser
Project Leader
Maka Malania
Project Manager
Caio Silveira
Postdoctoral Researcher