Immunotherapy in pancreatic cancer

Reference: BIO2017-84974-R
Funding Entity: Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness
Principal Investigator: Dr. África González-Fernández
Duration: 01/01/2018 – 31/12/2021

Working group:

Dr. Rosana Simón Vázquez
Dr. Jezabel Varadé López
Dr. Ana Igea Fernández
Amparo Martínez Pérez
Lara Diego González


Immunotherapy is undergoing a real revolution in the last years, being used in several pathologies, especially in cancer. From all types of immunotherapy, vaccination against tumoral cells is really appealing, trying to activate patients’ immune system to destroy tumor cells. Currently, the anti-tumoral vaccines use mostly tumor peptides/lysates in the presence or absence of dendritic cells, but few works have been centered in the intracellular signalling routes. The most lethal cancer and with the worse prognosis in advanced stages is the pancreatic cancer. Therapies that are giving good results in other tumors (such as monoclonal antibodies anti-CTLA-4) are not effective in this type of cancer.

Pancreatic tumoral cells have peculiar characteristics with mutations in very concrete genes and a highly suppressive immunoenvironment. In this project, we propose a vaccine specifically directed against one of this proteins that is frequently found mutated in pancreatic cancer. The intention is to allow the activation of T and B lymphocytes against peptides carrying this mutations, and the generation of memory cytotoxic T cells able to destroy the tumor cells. This type of vaccine could be useful for cancer in its early stages or after surgery, to remove the residual tumoral cells. In those cases of advanced tumors we propose a combined therapy including the vaccine together with the inhibition of proteins important for the tumour growth or chemotherapeutic agents.The association with conventional chemotherapy (ciclofosfamide), it will help to improve even more the effect induced by the vaccine, allowing the elimination of tumoral cells.

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