In short, Jolanda de Vries's and Li Xue's research entails the following:
Using geometric deep learning to identify MHC-II peptide vaccine candidates for CMMRD patients
In this project ‘Using geometric deep learning to identify MHC-II peptide vaccine candidates for CMMRD patients’, researchers of Radboudumc under guidance of Jolanda de Vries and Li Xue aim to develop a preventive cancer vaccine for patients with a paediatric tumour predisposition syndrome called Constitutional Mismatch Repair Deficiency (CMMRD).
CMMRD is a hereditary syndrome. Patients with CMMRD have a high risk of cancer due to mutations in both copies of DNA mismatch repair genes. These mutations cause cells to make altered proteins. These altered proteins can be recognized by the immune system.
We analyzed the DNA code of 42 tumours from 17 CMMRD patients. We compared this code with the DNA code of healthy cells from the same patient and detected more than 10,000 tumour-specific changes. In this Hanarth project, we use AI to predict which tumour-specific changes can trigger T cells to attack tumours. Once we know which altered proteins are eliciting an immune response against the tumour cells, we want to induce these responses by using dendritic cells. These cells play a central role in the immune system.
Our ultimate goal is to develop a preventive dendritic cell vaccine for CMMRD patients. Therefore, tumour-specific neoepitopes for the induction of anti-tumour responses are needed. Most cancer vaccine research focuses on CD8 T-cell responses, whereas CD4 T-cell responses are also required for effective responses. Here we will use innovative deep learning approaches to predict MHC class II-binding neoepitopes that are shared among CMMRD patients.