About the ULB Center for Research in Immunology (U-CRI)
Given the major recent progresses in immunology, the teams involved in the field at the ULB have created a dedicated research institute. This institute brings together researchers from the Faculties of Sciences, Medicine and Pharmacy. Its aim is to promote fundamental and translational immunology. The teams, led by more than 25 principal investigators, are active on the BIOPARK campus (Gosselies) and the HEALTH POLE (Erasme campus, Institut Jules Bordet and Brugmann campus).
Molecular Immunology : With a particular emphasis on innate immune cells and T lymphocytes, these projects involve state-of-the art approaches in molecular biology, flow cytometry and imaging to study transcriptional, post-transcriptional and epigenetic processes.
Pre-clinical Immunology : It involves the development of mouse models for human pathologies or therapeutic interventions. Several projects rely on implantable/genetic tumor models, infections and vaccination protocols or chronic inflammation. The animal facilities from the BIOPARK campus include a specific pathogen-free structure and several units dedicated to experimentation and infectious pathogens.
Human and translational Immunology : Research teams involved in human immunology are mainly located in the HEALTH POLE. It involves projects in vaccinology, infectious diseases, hematology and cancerology that rely on strong collaborative networks with clinicians.
1st Summer School in Immuno-Oncology organized by the Institut Cancer et Immunologie (ICI) and CIVIS
February 11th 2021 - 11:38
The ICI Summer School, edition 2021, all in English, is designed for international PhD and master’s students in life sciences, medicine, and computer science who are seeking to further their knowledge and skills in immuno-oncology research using the latest analytical methods. The Summer School will present recent technological breakthroughs that unravel the complexities of biological systems at the single-cell level, opening an avenue for the understanding of tumor and immune cell heterogeneity and next generation discovery of biomarkers and therapeutic targets.
In autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS), the balance between regulatory mechanisms and misguided immune cells attacking the body is often shifted in favour of auto-reactive cells. Manipulating the immune response to restore this balance and enhance regulatory functions is therefore a central paradigm in the search for MS therapies. We identified a specific signalling pathway, triggered by a receptor named CD27 that could be a target for such manipulation. By stimulating this receptor, we were able to reduce the activity of harmful auto-reactive cells and enhance the function of...
Tristetraprolin (TTP) is an RNA-binding protein that is known to play a critical role in the resolution of inflammation through the destabilisation of key cytokine transcripts, such as that encoding TNF. Furthermore, decreased expression or function of TTP is consistently observed in many human malignancies. Using loss or gain of function approaches, Assiya Assabban and her colleagues from the lab of Stan Goriely provide in vivo evidence that TTP controls key oncogenic events during skin tumorigenesis, such as the EGFR pathway. These data strongly support the notion that deregulation of...
Recent publication : Hepatocarcinoma Induces a Tumor Necrosis Factor-Dependent Kupffer Cell Death Pathway That Favors Its Proliferation Upon Partial Hepatectomy
December 01st 2020 - 07:45
Partial hepatectomy is one of the best treatment for Hepatocellular carcinoma. However, a significant amount of patients undergoes a recursion of the disease that could be accelerated by the surgery-associated inflammation. Using preclinical model, Jean-François Hastir, in the team of Véronique Flamand, brings new evidence on the link between hepatectomy-induced Kupffer cell death and local inflammation that contributes to tumor progression. He discovered that primary hepatocellular carcinoma induces the switch from the TNF-α-RIPK3-caspase8 dependent Kupffer cell apoptosis to a...
Recent publication : Myeloid tumor necrosis factor and heme oxygenase-1 regulate the progression of colorectal liver metastases during hepatic ischemia-reperfusion
October 23rd 2020 - 13:46
Liver ischemia/reperfusion occurring during surgical procedures such as partial hepatectomy contributes to colorectal liver metastasis progression. Desislava Germanova in the team of Véronique Flamand demonstrated that in this setting the tumor progression is occuring despite the local production of TNF by resident macrophages (Kupffer cells). She shows that the liver ischemia/reperfusion induced a Kupffer cell number decrease most likely through pyroptosis that favors the recruitment of TNF producing protective monocytes. However, the anti-tumoral capacity of these myeloid cells is...
CD8 + T cells within the tumor microenvironment are exposed to various signals that ultimately determine functional outcomes. In October issue of Immunity, the team of Ludovic Martinet from the Centre de physiopathologie de Toulouse Purpan (CPTP) identified a new mechanism involved in T cell dysfunction. Through complementary approaches, involving cancer patients’ samples and relevant mouse tumor models, Weulersse et al. reveal that CD8+ T cells in the tumor microenvironment lose expression of the activating receptor CD226 (DNAM-1) in a manner that is Eomes dependent. CD226 loss restrains...
Recent publication : The mononuclear phagocyte system contributes to fibrosis in posttransplant Obliterans Bronchiolitis
October 09th 2020 - 13:07
Lung transplantation currently represents the only curative treatment for patients suffering from end-stage respiratory failure. However, when compared to other solid-organ transplants, the prognosis after lung transplantation remains quite poor, with a median survival of less than 7 years. The main cause for this high mortality is a disease called Bronchiolitis Obliterans Syndrome (BOS), which manifests as a progressive and irreversible loss of respiratory function, mainly due to the obliteration of the small airways (“bronchioles”) caused by fibrosis. The myofibroblasts, considered as...