One of the research fields involves studies on the tumor-associated fibroblasts (TAFs), which have an established biological impact on tumorigenesis due to their role as matrix synthesizing or matrix degrading cells, contractile cells (a-SMA expression), and even blood vessel associated cells (VEGF secretion). Furthermore, our group has recently provided compelling evidence to support the origin of TAFs from bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), which can be recruited to tumor site, where they proliferate and acquire a TAF-like phenotype (Paunescu et al., J Cell Mol Med, 2011). Being genetically more stable than the frequently mutating, heterogeneous tumor cell populations, the expression of the TAF antigen will remain more constant and serve as a reliable target for cytotoxic, tumor-fighting lymphocytes, selected with Streptamer technology from the patient’s own cells. The approach focused on TAFs’ promises to fulfill the criteria of personalized medicine, while at the same time lowers the costs of therapy by standardizing a protocol to be applied for all types of solid tumors.
Another research is focused on understanding the pathological processes induced in Alzheimer disease-associated immunosenescence. Numerous mechanisms are investigated: significance of telomeres and telomerase, and the interplay between different cellular subpopulations, in the process of the immune system aging; programmed cell death (apoptosis), cell viability and survival, and also the study of the RNA interference phenomenon; understanding of dendritic cells’ antigenic cross-presentation and efficient cross-priming of cytotoxic T cells.