Reza Jafari, V.M.D., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Medical Immunology

Solid Tumor Research Center (STRC)

Cellular and Molecular Medicine Institute

Urmia University of Medical Sciences


I received a Ph.D. in Medical Immunology from Mashhad University of Medical Sciences where I was trained at Ghaem Hospital, Department of Clinical Immunology & Allergy. My Ph.D. thesis was designed about targeted co-delivery of the chemotherapeutic drug (Docetaxel) and small interfering RNA ( IGF-1R siRNA) by chitosan nanoparticles for improving immunotherapy by an anti-HER2 monoclonal antibody (Trastuzumab) in metastatic breast cancer. I have joined to STRC from August 2019, as an Assistant Professor. My current research interests focus on three topics: the tumor immune microenvironment as a target for therapy, choosing the right immune modulator for combination with chemoimmunotherapy, and especially Dendritic cell-based cancer vaccine.

Dendritic cell-based cancer vaccine for cellular immunotherapy

Dendritic cells (DCs) are powerful antigen-presenting cells for the induction of antigen-specific T cell response.  DC vaccine has been introduced as a new therapeutic strategy in cancer patients. DC-based immunotherapy is safe and can promote antitumor immune responses and prolonged survival of cancer patients. The main goal of the therapeutic vaccines is to elicit cellular immunity. They should prime naive T cells as well as induce the transition from chronically activated non-protective CD8+ T cells to healthy CD8+ T cells able to produce cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs), that recognize and eliminate cancer cells in an antigen-specific way and also provide long-lived memory CD8+ T cells that will act to prevent relapse. The most critical step in vaccination is the effective presentation of cancer antigens to T cells and because of DCs are the most efficient antigen-presenting cells, they are the promising option for improvement of therapeutic vaccines. Sipuleucel-T is the first DCs- based cancer vaccine for men with asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC), approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It is active cellular immunotherapy, which involves obtaining antigen-presenting autologous dendritic cells from the patient following a leukapheresis procedure. The cells are incubated ex vivo in the presence of a recombinant fusion protein PA2024 containing a prostate antigen, prostate acid phosphatase, and GM-CSF, an immune-cell activator. The cells are then returned to the patient to generate an immune response.