PD Dr. Hemmi Silvio

Main Field(s) of Research, Abstract
The overall aim of our research is the use of adenovirus (Ad) for the treatment of established tumors through manipulation of the immune system as well as by the viral cytotoxic means, as an alternatives to conventional therapies like radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgery. At the moment we focus predominantly on melanoma as for this type of cancer several animal melanoma models exist and as human melanomas can be grown in nude mice.
The following specific projects are of main interest:
1) Analysis of human melanoma cell cultures for their correlation of CAR-expression (primary Ad receptor) and efficacy of Ad-mediated transgene expression. These studies allow predictions on how much virus is needed to reach a desired therapeutic transgene expression. This project also involves search for additional receptor targets to improve infection efficiency, altering e.g. fiber head of the virus to insert new targeting motifs.
2) Development of attenuated replication competent Ads in order to exploit the cytopathic effect of Ad replication for melanoma tumor cell eradication. Such a virus was tested in the nude mouse model and revealed the selective oncolytic activity of this virus for melanoma cells. An extension of this project includes the production of a virus with specificity for cutaneous lymphoma.

Main Fields of Research, Keywords
Adenovirus, virus-targeting, virus-receptors, oncolytic viruses, melanoma, cutaneous lymphoma.

Special Techniques and Equipment
Recombinant adenovirus production.

Education and Training
We have training opportunities for diploma students, PhD students, PostDocs and medical dissertations.