Lymphatic organs are important control hubs of the immune system and require a dedicated infrastructure for their optimal function. The different specialized microenvironments are formed by fibroblastic stromal cells, which form the basic structure of the lymphatic organs. However, these cells are not only essential for the formation of the organ structure, but also contribute to the activation and regulation of immune responsesiveness. We are investigating the influence of fibroblastic stromal cells during the development of lymphatic organs and in various immunological processes in order to advance the development of new means for treatment and prevention for infectious diseases, autoimmune diseases and cancer.
Stromal cells in cancer
Depending on the tumor entity, fibroblastic stromal cells are an essential component of the tumor microenvironment. These cells form the structural scaffold of the tumor and - at the same time - supply the tumor cells with nutrients and survival factors. We are investigating whether fibroblastic stromal cells can be specifically modified to promote effective immune responses against tumor cells. Through these approaches, we aim to develop new treatment options in cancer therapy.