We are interested in the study of the functional role played by human dendritic cells (DCs) in inflammatory processes, immune tolerance related diseases, infectious diseases as well as in the restauration of healthy immune responses after immunotherapy. Our work is focused on the study of the immunological mechanisms underlying the clinical benefit of different types of vaccines employed for allergen-specific immunotherapy (AIT), for the treatment and prevention of recurrent infections affecting the respiratory or urinary tracts and other immune tolerance related diseases, such as cancer. One of the main novel lines of research of the group is focused on studying the role played by endocannbinoids and other small molecules in the immunomodulation of human DCs in the context of allergic diseases. We are also interested in the identification of novel food allergens and in the elucidation of the molecular mechanisms involved in allergic sensitization. Overall, we aimed at the identification of molecules in human DCs as potential therapeutic targets to develop novel vaccines and alternative immunotherapy protocols for the treatment of immune tolerance related diseases and infections.
1. Study of the role played by the endocannabinoid system in the context of allergic diseases with special focus on the immunomodulation exerted by cannanbinoids in human DCs to identify novel molecules as potential therapeutic targets to treat inflammatory processes.
2. Vaccine development and study of their immunological mechanisms of action in humans for the treatment of (in collaboration with Inmunotek S. L.):
i). Allergy (hypoallergenic and immunogenic vaccines with the capacity to generate healthy immune responses to allergens, i.e. Th1 and/or regulatory T cells (Treg)).
ii). Infectious diseases (polybacterial vaccines able to promote the generation of suitable immune responses to prevent and treat recurrent infections, i.e Th1, Th17 or IL-10-producing T cells).
3. Identification of novel food allergens implicated in the sensitization of allergic patients. Study of the immunological mechanisms governing allergic sensitization and the actual role played by human DCs and Th2 cells in such processes.
The group has experience and routinely uses many different techniques: cellular-culture procedures (human cell lines and primary cells), preparation of human PBMC, isolation of different blood cell populations, generation of humoDCs, staining of cells with labelled-Abs for flow cytometry and confocal microscopy, functional experiments with human blood cells, in vivo mice models of vaccination, asthma and other diseases, immunological techniques, labeling of antigens and Abs with biotin, fluorophores and other ligands, cloning and manipulation of nucleic acids, protein purification, chemical and spectroscopic analysis of proteins, analytical techniques, gene arrays, proteomic tools, systems biology computer programs and databases, etc.