Fluorescent Tumour Cells

Uckert Lab

Molecular Cell Biology and Gene Therapy (Emeritus)


We focus on several aspects of TCR/CAR gene therapy including identification of suitable target antigens, generation and isolation of antigen-specific TCRs, improvement of vector systems for the generation of gene-engineered T cells, development of safety measures to limit side effects of TCR gene therapy, and evaluation of ATT in pre-clinical models.

Adoptive T cell therapy (ATT) of cancer requires the preparation of antigen-specific T cells that recognize and eradicate tumor cells. While the use of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes showed some efficacy of ATT for some tumor entities, the use of T cells engineered with T cell receptors (TCR) or chimeric antigen receptors (CAR) paves the way for a broader clinical application.


A long and winding road – a film with Thomas Blankenstein, Elisa Kieback, Mathias Leisegang, Antonio Pezzutto and Wolfgang Uckert. (with English subtitles)


Antigen specificity of T cells is determined by their T cell receptor (TCR) and can be redirected by the transfer of TCRα/β genes. TCR gene-modified T cells can elicit effector functions against any target antigen. The adoptive transfer of TCR-redirected T cells into cancer patients has already led to first clinical success.

The focus of our group lies on the adoptive transfer of TCR-redirected T cells for the therapy of cancer and viral diseases. We address questions related to: (i) generation of T cells with new antigen specificity by TCR gene transfer, (ii) safety aspects of TCR-redirected T cells with respect to the recognition of self-antigens, (iii) adoptive transfer of TCR-redirected T cells in mice as a prerequisite for the application of those cells in human diseases, and (iv) optimization of TCR transfer vectors.

The expected results serve as a platform for the genetic engineering of „designer“ T cells which are the basis for clinical studies using adoptive T cell therapy with TCR-gene-modified T cells.

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Uckert
Prof. Wolfgang Uckert
Max-Delbrück-Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz-Association (MDC)
Robert-Rössle-Str. 10
13092 Berlin, Deutschland
Building 31.1, Room 4002
(030) 9406-3196