Prof. Dr. med. Helmut Salih

Full Professor for Translational Immunology

Head of the Clinical Collaboration Unit Translational Immunology, German Cancer Consortium (DKTK), German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Partner Site Tübingen


University Hospital Tübingen

Otfried-Müller St. 10

D-72076 Tübingen, Germany

Phone: +49-7071-29-83275



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10 most relevant publications




Our research focuses on the field of tumor immunology/biology with the following key aspects:

  • Molecular mechanisms influencing tumor-immune interaction and escape including their therapeutic modulation
  • Development of novel immunotherapeutic strategies, in particular novel antibody formats and peptide vaccination strategies to induce antitumor immunity of NK and T cells until the stage of clinical studies


With regard to the molecular mechanisms underlying host-tumor interaction, we analyze the expression and function of various immunoregulatory molecules, in particular the NKG2D/NKG2D ligand molecule system and various members of the TNF/TNFR family, in immune and tumor cells and the influence of other healthy cells like e.g. platelets. Besides their pathophysiological role we study the possibilities to modulate the respective molecules/cells to avoid tumor immune escape. This aims, among others, to improve the efficacy of presently available therapeutic strategies that rely on a sufficient anti-tumor immune response (e.g., allogenic stem cell transplantation). In addition, these analyses serve to identify potential target molecules for novel therapeutic compounds (see below). Moreover, we conduct comparative analyses to identify potential differences regarding the effects of immunoregulatory molecules in mice and humans to facilitate the development of valid model systems for testing immunotherapeutic strategies prior to the application in humans.

The above described work constitutes a central basis for the key aspect of our scientific interest: the development of novel Fc-optimized monoclonal and bispecific antibodies as well as modified immunoreceptor fusion proteins and peptide vaccination strategies for induction of NK and T cell anti-tumor reactivity in cancer patients. Notably, particular effort is made to develop our therapeutic compounds (i) until the stage of clinical application with (ii) substantial contribution of academia. The feasibility of this idea is demonstrated by our recent work with Fc-optimized FLT3 antibodies and a patient-individualized peptide vaccine, which already undergo clinical testing in AML (, NCT02789254) and CLL (, NCT02802943;) patients, respectively. Overall, the superordinate goal is to enable the rapid translation of results from basic science into clinical application in early clinical studies (bench to bedside), which is central for our understanding of “Translational Immunology”


Research Interests

  • Tumor Immunology, NK cells
  • Development and clinical testing of optimized anti-tumor antibodies or antibody-like molecules

Joint Research Projects

2017 – 2019 

Entwicklung eines mehrfach-optimierten bispezifischen PSMAxCD3 Antikörpers zur Krebstherapie , Helmholtz Validierungsfond


2013 – 2017 

Collaborative Research Center (CRC) 685 „Modulation of NK cell-mediated tumor immunosurveillance by platelets" (Einfluss von Thrombozyten auf die NK Zell-vermittelte Immunüberwachung von Tumoren)




  • Treatment of transformed or infected biological cells; U.S. Patent 7939266; PCT/EP 2005/008976
  • RANKL-specific agent for treating metastatic disease; EP 14 193 179.0
  • Recombinant antibody molecule and its use for target cell restricted T-cell activation; PCT/EP 2013/050603;
  • Use of blocking reagents for reducing unspecific T cell-activation; EP 14 195 645.8
  • Fusion proteins comprising a binding protein and an interleukin-15 polypeptide having a reduced affinity for IL15ra and therapeutic uses thereof; EP 15 157 911.7
  • Bispecific fusion proteins for enhancing immune responses of lymphocytes against tumor cells; EP 15 163 460.7
  • Anti-Cancer Combination Treatment; EP 16170328.5
  • Novel PMSA Binding Antibody And Uses Thereof; EP 16 151 281.9