Tumor Immunology & Immunotherapy Group


Principal Investigator


  • Characterize the personalized antitumor T cell response in patients with cancer
  • Mine the personalized repertoire of tumor-reactive lymphocytes for potential biomarkers of response to cancer immunotherapy using immune checkpoint inhibitors
  • Investigate novel strategies to rapidly identify the tumor-reactive lymphocytes as well as the target antigens driving this response
  • Develop personalized T cell based cancer immunotherapies for patients with solid cancers


  • Identify tumor-reactive and neoantigen specific lymphocytes in patients treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors and define specific phenotypic and functional traits influencing their antitumor efficacy
  • Develop a non-biased approach to identify minimal epitopes recognized by tumor specific lymphocytes
  • Isolate T-cell receptors targeting tumor antigens
  • Generate personalized T cell based cancer immunotherapies from liquid biopsies


Tumor Immunology & Immunotherapy Group
  • Principal Investigator
    • Alena Gros
  • Post-Doctoral Fellows
    • Jara Palomero
    • Carlos Fajardo
  • PhD Students
    • Andrea Garcia
    • Maria Lozano
    • Anna Yuste
  • Lab Manager
    • Daniela Grases
  • Technical Auxiliary
    • Albert Marín


  • Yossef R, Tran E, Deniger DC, Gros A, Pasetto A, Parkhurst MR, Gartner JJ, Prickett TD, Cafri G, Robbins PF, Rosenberg SA. Enhanced detection of neoantigen-reactive T cells targeting unique and shared oncogenes for personalized cancer immunotherapy. JCI Insight. 2018 Oct 4;3(19). pii: 122467.
  • R. Eil, S.K. Vodnala, D. Clever, C.A. Klebanoff, M.Sukumar, J.H. Pan, D.C. Palmer, A. Gros, T.N. Yamamoto, S.J. Patel, G.C. Guittard, Z. Yu, V. Carbonaro, K. Okkenhaug, D.S. Schrump, W.M. Linehan, R. Roychoudhuri, N.P. Restifo. Ionic immune suppression within the tumour microenvironment limits T cell effector function, Nature, 14 (2016) 539-543.
  • A. Pasetto, A. Gros, P.F. Robbins, D.C. Deniger, R.D. Prickett, R. Matus-Nicodemos, D.C. Douek, B. Howie, H. Robins, M.R. Parkhurst, J. Gartner, K. Trebska-McGowan, J.S. Crystal, S.A. Rosenberg.Tumor- and Neoantigen-reactive T-cell receptors can be identified based on their frequency in fresh tumor.Cancer Immunol 2 (2016) 734-743.
  • T.D. Prickett, J.S. Crystal, C.J. Cohen, A. Pasetto, M.R. Parkhurst, J.J. Gartner, X. Yao, R. Wang, A. Gros, Y.F. Li, M. El-Gamil, K. Trebska-McGowan, S.A. Rosenberg, P.F. Robbins, Durable Complete Response from Metastatic Melanoma after Transfer of Autologous T Cells Recognizing 10 Mutated Tumor Antigens, Cancer Immunol Res, (2016).
  • C.A. Klebanoff, C.D. Scott, A.J. Leonardi, T.N. Yamamoto, A.C. Cruz, C. Ouyang, M. Ramaswamy, R. Roychoudhuri, Y. Ji, R.L. Eil, M. Sukumar, J.G. Crompton, D.C. Palmer, Z.A. Borman, D. Clever, S.K. Thomas, S. Patel, Z. Yu, P. Muranski, H. Liu, E. Wang, F.M. Marincola, A. Gros, L. Gattinoni, S.A. Rosenberg, R.M. Siegel, N.P. Restifo, Memory T cell-driven differentiation of naive cells impairs adoptive immunotherapy, J Clin Invest, 126 (2016) 318-334.
  • A. Gros, M.R. Parkhurst, E. Tran, A. Pasetto, P.F. Robbins, S. Ilyas, T.D. Prickett, J.J. Gartner, J.S. Crystal, I.M. Roberts, K. Trebska-McGowan, J.R. Wunderlich, J.C. Yang, S.A. Rosenberg, Prospective identification of neoantigen-specific lymphocytes in the peripheral blood of melanoma patients, Nat Med, 22 (2016) 433-438.
  • E. Tran, M. Ahmadzadeh, Y.C. Lu, A. Gros, S. Turcotte, P.F. Robbins, J.J. Gartner, Z. Zheng, Y.F. Li, S. Ray, J.R. Wunderlich, R.P. Somerville, S.A. Rosenberg, Immunogenicity of somatic mutations in human gastrointestinal cancers, Science, 350 (2015) 1387-1390.
  • L.M. Draper, M.L. Kwong, A. Gros, S. Stevanovic, E. Tran, S. Kerkar, M. Raffeld, S.A. Rosenberg, C.S. Hinrichs, Targeting of HPV-16+ Epithelial Cancer Cells by TCR Gene Engineered T Cells Directed against E6, Clin Cancer Res, 21 (2015) 4431-4439.
  • J.G. Crompton, M. Sukumar, R. Roychoudhuri, D. Clever, A. Gros, R.L. Eil, E. Tran, K. Hanada, Z. Yu, D.C. Palmer, S.P. Kerkar, R.D. Michalek, T. Upham, A. Leonardi, N. Acquavella, E. Wang, F.M. Marincola, L. Gattinoni, P. Muranski, M.S. Sundrud, C.A. Klebanoff, S.A. Rosenberg, D.T. Fearon, N.P. Restifo, Akt inhibition enhances expansion of potent tumor-specific lymphocytes with memory cell characteristics, Cancer Res, 75 (2015) 296-305.
  • N. Acquavella, D. Clever, Z. Yu, M. Roelke-Parker, D.C. Palmer, L. Xi, H. Pflicke, Y. Ji, A. Gros, K. Hanada, I.S. Goldlust, G.U. Mehta, C.A. Klebanoff, J.G. Crompton, M. Sukumar, J.J. Morrow, Z. Franco, L. Gattinoni, H. Liu, E. Wang, F. Marincola, D.F. Stroncek, C.C. Lee, M. Raffeld, M.W. Bosenberg, R. Roychoudhuri, N.P. Restifo, Type I cytokines synergize with oncogene inhibition to induce tumor growth arrest, Cancer Immunol Res, 3 (2015) 37-47.
  • S. Turcotte, A. Gros, E. Tran, C.C. Lee, J.R. Wunderlich, P.F. Robbins, S.A. Rosenberg, Tumor-Reactive CD8+ T Cells in Metastatic Gastrointestinal Cancer Refractory to Chemotherapy, Clin Cancer Res, 20 (2014) 331-343.
  • E. Tran, S. Turcotte, A. Gros, P.F. Robbins, Y.C. Lu, M.E. Dudley, J.R. Wunderlich, R.P. Somerville, K. Hogan, C.S. Hinrichs, M.R. Parkhurst, J.C. Yang, S.A. Rosenberg, Cancer immunotherapy based on mutation-specific CD4+ T cells in a patient with epithelial cancer, Science, 344 (2014) 641-645.
  • A. Gros, P.F. Robbins, X. Yao, Y.F. Li, S. Turcotte, E. Tran, J.R. Wunderlich, A. Mixon, S. Farid, M.E. Dudley, K. Hanada, J.R. Almeida, S. Darko, D.C. Douek, J.C. Yang, S.A. Rosenberg, PD-1 identifies the patient-specific CD8(+) tumor-reactive repertoire infiltrating human tumors, J Clin Invest, 124 (2014) 2246-2259.
  • S. Turcotte, A. Gros, K. Hogan, E. Tran, C.S. Hinrichs, J.R. Wunderlich, M.E. Dudley, S.A. Rosenberg, Phenotype and function of T cells infiltrating visceral metastases from gastrointestinal cancers and melanoma: implications for adoptive cell transfer therapy, J Immunol, 191 (2013) 2217-2225.
  • R.A. Morgan, N. Chinnasamy, D. Abate-Daga, A. Gros, P.F. Robbins, Z. Zheng, M.E. Dudley, S.A. Feldman, J.C. Yang, R.M. Sherry, G.Q. Phan, M.S. Hughes, U.S. Kammula, A.D. Miller, C.J. Hessman, A.A. Stewart, N.P. Restifo, M.M. Quezado, M. Alimchandani, A.Z. Rosenberg, A. Nath, T. Wang, B. Bielekova, S.C. Wuest, N. Akula, F.J. McMahon, S. Wilde, B. Mosetter, D.J. Schendel, C.M. Laurencot, S.A. Rosenberg, Cancer regression and neurological toxicity following anti-MAGE-A3 TCR gene therapy, J Immunother, 36 (2013) 133-151.
  • C. Puig-Saus, A. Gros, R. Alemany, M. Cascallo, Adenovirus i-leader truncation bioselected against cancer-associated fibroblasts to overcome tumor stromal barriers, Mol Ther, 20 (2012) 54-62.
  • S. Guedan, D. Grases, J.J. Rojas, A. Gros, F. Vilardell, R. Vile, E. Mercade, M. Cascallo, R. Alemany, GALV expression enhances the therapeutic efficacy of an oncolytic adenovirus by inducing cell fusion and enhancing virus distribution, Gene Ther, 19 (2012) 1048-1057.
  • A. Gros, S. Turcotte, J.R. Wunderlich, M. Ahmadzadeh, M.E. Dudley, S.A. Rosenberg, Myeloid cells obtained from the blood but not from the tumor can suppress T-cell proliferation in patients with melanoma, Clin Cancer Res, 18 (2012) 5212-5223.
  • M. Gimenez-Alejandre, A. Gros, R. Alemany, Construction of capsid-modified adenoviruses by recombination in yeast and purification by iodixanol-gradient, Methods Mol Biol, 797 (2012) 21-34.
  • L. Coughlan, S. Vallath, A. Gros, M. Gimenez-Alejandre, N. Van Rooijen, G.J. Thomas, A.H. Baker, M. Cascallo, R. Alemany, I.R. Hart, Combined fiber modifications both to target alpha(v)beta(6) and detarget the coxsackievirus-adenovirus receptor improve virus toxicity profiles in vivo but fail to improve antitumoral efficacy relative to adenovirus serotype 5, Hum Gene Ther, 23 (2012) 960-979.
  • S. Guedan, J.J. Rojas, A. Gros, E. Mercade, M. Cascallo, R. Alemany, Hyaluronidase expression by an oncolytic adenovirus enhances its intratumoral spread and suppresses tumor growth, Mol Ther, 18 (2010) 1275-1283.
  • A. Gros, C. Puig, S. Guedan, J.J. Rojas, R. Alemany, M. Cascallo, Verapamil enhances the antitumoral efficacy of oncolytic adenoviruses, Mol Ther, 18 (2010) 903-911.
  • 22.- J.J. Rojas, M. Cascallo, S. Guedan, A. Gros, J. Martinez-Quintanilla, A. Hemminki, R. Alemany, A modified E2F-1 promoter improves the efficacy to toxicity ratio of oncolytic adenoviruses, Gene Ther, 16 (2009) 1441-1451.
  • J. Martinez-Quintanilla, M. Cascallo, A. Gros, C. Fillat, R. Alemany, Positive selection of gene-modified cells increases the efficacy of pancreatic cancer suicide gene therapy, Mol Cancer Ther, 8 (2009) 3098-3107.
  • M. Huch, A. Gros, A. Jose, J.R. Gonzalez, R. Alemany, C. Fillat, Urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor transcriptionally controlled adenoviruses eradicate pancreatic tumors and liver metastasis in mouse models, Neoplasia, 11 (2009) 518-528, 514 p following 528.
  • N. Bayo-Puxan, M. Gimenez-Alejandre, S. Lavilla-Alonso, A. Gros, M. Cascallo, A. Hemminki, R. Alemany, Replacement of adenovirus type 5 fiber shaft heparan sulfate proteoglycan-binding domain with RGD for improved tumor infectivity and targeting, Hum Gene Ther, 20 (2009) 1214-1221.
  • S. Guedan, A. Gros, M. Cascallo, R. Vile, E. Mercade, R. Alemany, Syncytia formation affects the yield and cytotoxicity of an adenovirus expressing a fusogenic glycoprotein at a late stage of replication, Gene Ther, 15 (2008) 1240-1245.
  • A. Gros, J. Martinez-Quintanilla, C. Puig, S. Guedan, D.G. Mollevi, R. Alemany, M. Cascallo, Bioselection of a gain of function mutation that enhances adenovirus 5 release and improves its antitumoral potency, Cancer Res, 68 (2008) 8928-8937.
  • M. Cascallo, A. Gros, N. Bayo, T. Serrano, G. Capella, R. Alemany, Deletion of VAI and VAII RNA genes in the design of oncolytic adenoviruses, Hum Gene Ther, 17 (2006) 929-940.
  • N. Bayo-Puxan, M. Cascallo, A. Gros, M. Huch, C. Fillat, R. Alemany, Role of the putative heparan sulfate glycosaminoglycan-binding site of the adenovirus type 5 fiber shaft on liver detargeting and knob-mediated retargeting, J Gen Virol, 87 (2006) 2487-2495.