Essand obtained his PhD in Uppsala in 1995 and received four years of postdoctoral training at the National Cancer Institute, NIH in Bethesda, USA. He returned to Sweden as an Associate Professor in 2000 and became Professor in 2009.
Essand has tutored eleven PhDs to completion of their thesis and published more than 80 original peer-reviewed scientific research articles, of which he is first or senior author of more than half, and 10 peer-reviewed overview articles as first or senior author.
Keywords: cancer immunotherapy tumor microenvironment immunogenic cell death oncolytic virus car-t cell epitope spreading bystander immune activation
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Immunotherapy has during the last decade proven to be effective and gained a strong position in clinical oncology. Immune checkpoint inhibitors and patient-derived chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells are today approved immunotherapies that can cure patients with metastatic recurrent cancer. Although tremendous achievements have been made, we have only just begun the work to understand how immune regulatory mechanisms in cancer can be exploited for treatment.
Our research programs aim to understand the mechanisms that make cancer cells escape immune recognition and use this knowledge to develop new and better immunotherapies. We create novel CAR-T cells and oncolytic viruses and arm them with factors that can lower immune suppression within the tumor microenvironment to induce potent anti-tumor immune responses. To address antigen heterogeneity within solid tumors, we strive to develop CAR-T and oncolytic virus products that can induce epitope spreading with activation of endogenous tumor antigen-specific cytolytic T cells.
Most of our research is pre-clinical, but oncolytic viruses and CAR-T cells developed in the research group are currently being evaluated in clinical trials. We are continuously developing more sophisticated products, and we anticipate that our novel armed oncolytic viruses and CAR-T cell products will enter clinical trials within the next years.
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