The interleukin 17 family (IL-17) and the interleukin 17 receptor D (IL17RD) represent an important molecular bridge in balancing inflammation and immunity and might therefore be a promising target in tumor immunology, including skin cancer. Based on published data and my preliminary work, I assume that IL-17RD expression in melanoma promotes a dedifferentiated, proinflammatory and ICB resistant phenotype.
Results from my previous analysis suggest an epigenetic regulation of the IL17RD via DNA methylation in melanoma and support the assumption of an association of IL17RD methylation with primary resistance to immune checkpoint blockade in melanoma patients.
The goal of my project is to gain a deeper mechanistic understanding of how IL-17RD expression shapes melanoma phenotype and influences IL-17-driven, inflammatory response in melanoma in vitro and in vivo. Targeting IL-17RD might be an effective new therapeutic strategy to overcome primary resistance to ICB in skin cancer patients with an IL17-driven tumor microenvironment.