Coukos lab

Our group focuses on engineering T cells that are associated with immune rejection in cancer. We use systems biology approaches to study the molecular states of T cells that are associated with immune deregulation or attack, either in the steady state or after T cell therapy. Departing from previous knowledge, we are also designing new synthetic T cell states, with the goals of overcoming tumor immune resistance and T cell deregulation. Learning from these lessons, we engineer T cells capable of superior performance and then re-infuse them into patients. We are also studying how certain components of the tumor microenvironment, such as regulatory T cells and blood vessels, can suppress immune responses but also be therapeutically manipulated to enhance the antitumor functions of the infused T cells. We are bringing our novel T cell technologies to the bedside in collaboration with other groups at CHUV and the Ludwig Institute. ...

Research projects

Prof. George Coukos established and directs the Human Integrated Tumor Immunology Discovery Engine (Hi-TIDe) and the Center for Excellence in Cell Therapy, which are focused on developing and testing curative T cell therapies for solid tumors.


George Coukos

Full Professor, Director of Hi-TIDe - Human integrated tumor immunology discovery engine, Head of the Department of Oncology, UNIL & CHUV, Director of Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research Lausanne Co-director, Swiss Cancer Center Leman CoukosLab

Principal investigators

Other members

Selected Publications

Activation of the transcription factor NFAT5 in the tumor microenvironment enforces CD8(+) T cell exhaustion.

Tillé L, Cropp D, Charmoy M, (...), Carmona SJ, Held W, Verdeil G

Nature immunology – 2023 Sep 14

Orthogonal cytokine engineering enables novel synthetic effector states escaping canonical exhaustion in tumor-rejecting CD8(+) T cells.

Corria-Osorio J, Carmona SJ, Stefanidis E, (...), Luther SA, Irving M, Coukos G

Nature immunology – 2023 Apr 20

Machine learning predictions of MHC-II specificities reveal alternative binding mode of class II epitopes.

Racle J, Guillaume P, Schmidt J, (...), Bassani-Sternberg M, Harari A, Gfeller D

Immunity – 2023 Mar 30

Patient-reported outcomes in adoptive cell-therapy trials: mind the gap.

Ghisoni E, Morotti M, Colomer-Lahiguera S, (...), Coukos G, Trueb L, Di Maio M

Journal for immunotherapy of cancer – 2022 Dec 18

A roadmap for driving CAR T cells toward the oncogenic immunopeptidome.

Irving M, Zoete V, Bassani-Sternberg M, Coukos G

Cancer cell – 2022 Jan 10

Sensitive identification of neoantigens and cognate TCRs in human solid tumors.

Arnaud M, Chiffelle J, Genolet R, (...), Bobisse S, Coukos G, Harari A

Nature biotechnology – 2021 Nov 15

Low-Dose Radiotherapy Reverses Tumor Immune Desertification and Resistance to Immunotherapy.

Herrera FG, Ronet C, Ochoa de Olza M, (...), Dangaj Laniti D, Irving M, Coukos G

Cancer discovery – 2021 Sep 3

Turning up the heat on non-immunoreactive tumours: opportunities for clinical development.

Ochoa de Olza M, Navarro Rodrigo B, Zimmermann S, Coukos G

The Lancet. Oncology – 2020 Sep

Immunotherapy in Ovarian Cancer: Are We There Yet?

Kandalaft LE, Odunsi K, Coukos G

Journal of clinical oncology : official journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology – 2019 Aug 12

Rational combinations of immunotherapy with radiotherapy in ovarian cancer.

Herrera FG, Irving M, Kandalaft LE, Coukos G

The Lancet. Oncology – 2019 Jul 29

Mechanisms regulating T-cell infiltration and activity in solid tumors.

Lanitis E, Dangaj D, Irving M, Coukos G

Annals of oncology : official journal of the European Society for Medical Oncology – 2017 Dec 1

The Human Vaccines Project: A roadmap for cancer vaccine development.

Romero P, Banchereau J, Bhardwaj N, (...), Van den Eynde B, Koff W, Coukos G

Science translational medicine – 2016 Apr 13

T-cell and NK-cell infiltration into solid tumors: a key limiting factor for efficacious cancer immunotherapy.

Melero I, Rouzaut A, Motz GT, Coukos G

Cancer discovery – 2014 May

Tumor endothelium FasL establishes a selective immune barrier promoting tolerance in tumors.

Motz GT, Santoro SP, Wang LP, (...), Feldman MD, Benencia F, Coukos G

Nature medicine – 2014 May 4

Therapeutic PD-1 pathway blockade augments with other modalities of immunotherapy T-cell function to prevent immune decline in ovarian cancer.

Duraiswamy J, Freeman GJ, Coukos G

Cancer research – 2013 Aug 23

Cancer immunotherapy comes of age.

Mellman I, Coukos G, Dranoff G

Nature – 2011 Dec 21

Tumour hypoxia promotes tolerance and angiogenesis via CCL28 and T(reg) cells.

Facciabene A, Peng X, Hagemann IS, (...), Lal P, Zhang L, Coukos G

Nature – 2011 Jul 13

Specific recruitment of regulatory T cells in ovarian carcinoma fosters immune privilege and predicts reduced survival.

Curiel TJ, Coukos G, Zou L, (...), Knutson KL, Chen L, Zou W

Nature medicine – 2004 Aug 22

Intratumoral T cells, recurrence, and survival in epithelial ovarian cancer.

Zhang L, Conejo-Garcia JR, Katsaros D, (...), Liebman MN, Rubin SC, Coukos G

The New England journal of medicine – 2003 Jan 16