Vaccination based on the modulation of dendritic cells
Dendritic cells are antigen-presenting cells responsible for detecting pathogens and presenting their antigens to the T-lymphocytes, which then carry out their effector functions. The correct activation of the T-lymphocytes requires the dendritic cells to undergo a process of maturation, which involves greater expression of antigen-presenting molecules, co-stimulus molecules and T-lymphocyte polarizing cytokines. Maturation of the dendritic cells occurs as a result of recognizing the molecules associated with pathogens or danger signals. The characterization of these molecules, their corresponding receptors on the dendritic cells and the signaling pathways involved in these processes has made it possible to improve knowledge of the biology of dendritic cells and to make advances in the development of new vaccination strategies.
Our laboratory's area of research has been focused on the use of different molecules that favor the maturation of the dendritic cells, combinations of them and antigens of interest in viral infections and cancer with the aim of developing more potent vaccination strategies against these pathogens.
It is also known that maturation of the dendritic cells is accompanied by autoregulation mechanisms that modify their activity so that they do not reach levels that exacerbate the response and thus become harmful. In certain situations, such as cancer, these mechanisms are overexpressed, which leads to defective activity of this cell population. Therefore, as a complement to the previous point, we are also working on potentiating the activity of the dendritic cells by blocking or inhibiting these immunosuppressant mechanisms.