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Molenaar Group

Beatrice Piotto

Group: Molenaar Group

About Beatrice 

I am a biotechnologist from Italy with a master’s degree in Medical Biotechnology. My interest in oncology started during my bachelor’s studies and increased while carrying out my bachelor’s thesis in the field of pediatric oncology, in particular studying the anaplastic large cell lymphoma. I kept my interest by continuing my studies in the oncology field and by performing my master’s thesis at the Lausanne branch of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, in the Irving lab. My project focused on gene-engineering approaches for improving the efficacy and safety of T-cell immunotherapy for solid tumors.

My Project: A game of hide and seek: targeting neuroblastoma’s escape from immunotherapy

Immunotherapy is of growing interest in the treatment of pediatric solid cancers. In the field of neuroblastoma tumors, patient outcome has been improved by the implementation of Dinutuximab, an anti-GD2 antibody, into the standard of care. However, in approximately 50% of patients, neuroblastoma tumors evade the current immunotherapy with Dinutuximab, leading to poor survival rates in most of these patients. We will use advanced techniques, such as high-throughput drug screening and CRISPR screening of neuroblastoma for anti-GD2 resistance, in order to identify novel combination strategies.