Ludwig Lausanne’s Michal Bassani-Sternberg recognized for her work on cancer antigens
Ludwig Lausanne’s Michal Bassani-Sternberg has received the Swiss Bridge Award, one of two researchers to be so honored in 2022. The award this year focused on viral and bacterial infections associated with cancer, which account for some 15% of all cancers worldwide and exact a particularly heavy toll in developing countries. Michal and her team will apply the grant of 250,000 Swiss francs to explore the cancer antigens—and corresponding T cell receptors—of malignancies linked to Epstein-Barr virus, human papillomavirus and Merkel cell polyomavirus. These include cancers such as lymphoma, cervical cancer and an aggressive, if rare, type of skin malignancy known as Merkel cell carcinoma. Michal’s lab has developed powerful proteogenomics and mass spectrometry-based methods along with computational systems to rapidly identify peptides likely to be presented by cancer cells and detected as antigens by T cells. Her methods are already being applied to advance personalized immunotherapies under development at Ludwig Lausanne. The ultimate aim of the Swiss Bridge-supported project is to translate the team’s findings on viral antigens and T cell receptors to develop novel immunotherapies for the prevention and treatment of virus-driven cancers.