Immune Synapse Research Center is supported by Creative Research Initiative Program of the National Research Foundation(NRF) of Korea at 2015.
The Immune synapse (IS) represents a dynamic micro-platform consisting of numerous essential molecules of the immune system. Abnormal regulation of the IS leaves the host susceptible to infection or tumor escape at one extreme, and autoimmunity at the other. The IS, which is a highly sophisticated interface for communication between T cells and target cells, is also capable of controlling long-distance cell signaling via the exchange of molecules through various structures such as exosomes and microvesicles.
Studies of IS are now entering a new era from bench to bedside. Thus, ‘Immune Synapse Research Center’ focuses on two topics related with controlling IS for the treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases.
1) We study to understand the mechanism and function of the MoEV (Membrane originated Extracellular Vesicle), a novel structure derived from microvilli of T cells and contains various signaling molecules, in relation to immune cell-cell communication.
2) We investigate novel strategies for targeting recently identified elements of the IS in order to improve the efficacy of T/NK-cell based immunotherapy as cancer therapy. These engineered immune activators are termed ‘ECIAs (Engineered & Controlled Immune Activators)’.
These researches will provide novel paradigm in cell-cell communication during immune responses associated with tumors or autoimmune diseases. In addition, ECIA-installed T/NK-cells are expected to facilitate significant progress in the field of tumor immunotherapy.