/ projects / CaixaResearch POTENT-IMMUNO

POTENT-IMMUNO. A new approach to improve the prospects of cancer immunotherapies

Project leader: Fran Supek, Institution: Institut de Recerca Biomèdica de Barcelona (IRB Barcelona) and ICREA (Spain)

Consortium: Ana Janic, Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) (Spain)

Description: Although immunotherapy has revolutionised cancer treatment, only around twenty per cent of patients currently benefit from it. Moreover, identifying these patient before treatment begins continues to be a major challenge. One possible indication is the number of mutations, which predicts whether a tumour is treatable by immunotherapy. This suggests that the mutated proteins can be detected by the immune system. It is also known that human cells have a mechanism by which they can silence the expression of mutated proteins.

In this project, the researchers’ hypothesis is that that switching off this mechanism in cancer cells would de-silence many mutations, causing more mutated proteins to be produced and rendering the tumour visible to the immune system and treatable by immunotherapy.

They will test this hypothesis using animal models of lung cancer and lymphoma. Their aim is to pave the way for future studies investigating the administration of drugs that inhibit this mechanism with a view to improving the prospects of immunotherapy.

“To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.” ― Thomas A. Edison