Completed Projects · Oncology

Team IMT

Immunosuppressive Microenvironment of Tumors

Solid tumors are complex microenvironments composed of cancer and immune cells that interact through various regulatory networks. Although CD8 T-cells may recognize and kill tumor cells, their function is impaired by cells such as regulatory T-cells, tumor-associated macrophages (TAM), and myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC). The success of the so-called checkpoint blockade strategy and numerous clinical and preclinical studies have demonstrated that alleviating immunosuppression translates into a therapeutic benefit.

Our team is exploring new strategies to relieve immunosuppression and improve anti-tumor response. Current projects focus on the establishment of antibody-discovery platforms, the isolation of specific antibodies, and their functionalization. Furthermore, our group develops platforms that allow investigation into the development and suppressive activity of myeloid cells in both human beings and mice.


  1. Schröder M, Loos S, Naumann SK, Bachran C, Krötschel M, Umansky V, Helming L, Swee LK (2017):
    Identification of inhibitors of myeloid-derived suppressor cells activity through phenotypic chemical screening
    OncoImmunology 6(1)
  2. Bachran C, Schröder M, Conrad L, Cragnolini JJ, Tafesse FG, Helming L, Ploegh HL, Swee LK (2017):
    The activity of myeloid cell-specific VHH immunotoxins is target-, epitope-, subset- and organ dependent
    Scientific Reports 7(1)
  3. Schröder M, Krötschel M, Conrad L, Naumann SK, Bachran C, Rolfe A, Umansky V, Helming L, Swee LK (2018):
    Genetic screen in myeloid cells identifies TNF-α autocrine secretion as a factor increasing MDSC suppressive activity via Nos2 up-regulation
    Scientific Reports 8
  4. Wöll S, Schiller S, Bachran C, Swee LK, Scherließ R (2018):
    Pentaglycine lipid derivates – rp-HPLC analytics for bioorthogonal anchor molecules in targeted, multiple-composite liposomal drug delivery systems
    International Journal of Pharmaceutics 547(1-2)
  5. Wöll S, Bachran C, Schiller S, Schröder M, Conrad L, Swee LK, Scherließ R (2018):
    Sortaggable liposomes: Evaluation of reaction conditions for single-domain antibody conjugation by Sortase-A and targeting of CD11b+ myeloid cells
    European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics 133
  6. Wöll S, Bachran C, Schiller S, Schröder M, Conrad L, Scherließ R, Swee LK (2019):
    Sortagging of liposomes with a murine CD11b-specific VHH increases in vitro and in vivo targeting specificity of myeloid cells
    European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics 134
The research of this team was kindly sponsored by Merck.