IOZK - Immun-Onkologisches Zentrum Köln
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The basis of our therapeutic approach


The IOZK in Cologne specialises in translating current research findings in immunology into effective treatments for people suffering from cancer. Our group developed and enabled the translation of the first autologous tumour vaccine in Europe, which is approved along the regulatory guidelines in the Medicines Act for advanced therapies. This vaccine is based on an autologous dendritic cell platform loaded with autologous tumour antigens that recognise immunological danger signals and is aided by a virus.  

Our tumour vaccine enables the patient’s immune system to actively eliminate the tumour. Current standard therapies try to fight the tumour, but do not take into account the potential of the body’s own defence mechanisms against tumour growth. Our therapy is based – adjacent to established therapies – on a combination of a specific immunotherapy that is tailored to the individual immunological and oncological needs of the patient. The term “personalised medicine” which is so often used today, is fully realised with our concept.


  • We utilize the potential of the patient's immune system to fight the growth of the tumour cells.

  • We use the patient's own tumour antigens (tumour cell material) as the tumour antigens are unique to a patient and their tumour.

  • We work with the patient's own immune cells (dendritic cells) that inform the immune system.

  • We make use of an oncolytic virus that replicates in tumour cells only, not in nomal healthy human cells. This leads to the tumour cells being marked for a targeted immune system attack.

  • We optimise the individual patient's supply of micronutrients and vitamins to enhance the body's immune system, Further oncolytic procedures, such as hyperthermia, are employed as indicated by the patient's condition.

  • Through combining our anti-tumour vaccination with checkpoint inhibitors, we open up new possibilities for treating advanced tumours.

  • We use an oncolytic virus which only replicates in tumour cells and does not affect healthy human cells. Through this the tumour cells are specifically marked for an attack by the immune system. 


The complete cure of an advanced tumour can only be achieved in very rare cases through this type of therapy. But it can certainly influence the course of the disease positively and enhance the quality of life. Current results of our studies show an extended survival time when compared to the use of standard therapies alone.