Cancer cells exhibit the capacity to evade recognition —and subsequent destruction— by the immune system through the activation of certain inhibitory molecular pathways, known as immune checkpoints. These immune checkpoints can be blocked by therapeutic drugs . Mulder: “These drugs take the brake off the immune system and empower certain immune cells to fight the cancer. However, such drugs are effective in a subset of patients only and can cause severe immune-related adverse effects.” With his research, professor Mulder is planning to diversify and improve checkpoint blockade immunotherapy using highly innovative nanobiologic treatments, as the one described in a recent publication in the prestigious journal Immunity. Specifically, prof. Mulder is planning to develop and apply nanobiologics that can 'train' the immune system's susceptibility to checkpoint blockade therapy while blocking adverse immune responses.
Objectives of the CHECKPOINT NANO project: to train the immune system’s susceptibility to checkpoint blockade therapy (Objective 1); to manage checkpoint-inhibitor drugs’ immune-related adverse effects (Objective 2). Precision medicine
Mulder is establishing a Precision Medicine group at TU/e with the “overarching goal to institutionalize nanotechnologies for precision immunotherapy and immuno-imaging”. Besides making precision medicine available to patients, he strives to develop a unique ‘research ecosystem’ that spans from his research group at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York to Eindhoven University of Technology and many collaborators. In Mulder’s view, this research network will facilitate innovation and serves as a unique training environment for the next generation biomedical engineers.