Molecular Immunology and Gene Therapy

Head of the Group

Prof. Dr. Thomas Blankenstein


Most of the current experimental cancer models do not reflect the pathophysiology of real-life cancer. Cancer usually occurs sporadically and is clonal in origin. Between tumor initiation and progression clinically unapparent pre-malignant cells may persist for years or decades in humans. More recently, mouse models of sporadic cancer have been developed. The mouse germ-line can be engineered with high precision so that defined genes can be switched on and off in the adult organism, ideally in a locally and timely controlled fashion. However, analysis of the immune response against sporadic tumors requires the knowledge of a tumor antigen.