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The European Union and the Swiss government donate €7.57 million for research into immunotherapy for prostate and ovarian cancer

A researcher at CIMA of the University of Navarra will coordinate this international project which has the participation of seven research groups from Spain, Germany, Holland and Switzerland

Descripcion de la imagen
Team from CIMA and Clínica Universidad de Navarra involved The PROCROP project. FOTO: Manuel Castells
22/07/16 10:09 María del Pilar Huarte

The European Union, through the Horizon 2020 program, and the government of Switzerland have donated €7.57 million (5.75 million and 1.82 million, respectively) for research into cellular immunotherapy against prostate and ovarian cancer. The Center for Applied Medical Research (CIMA) of the University of Navarra is the coordinator of this international consortium in which the Clínica Universidad de Navarra also participates, together with the Spanish National Centre for Cardiovascular Research (CNIC) Carlos III (Madrid) and other centers in Germany (Miltenyi Biotec), The Netherlands (Radboud University Medical Center), and Switzerland (Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois and the University of Lausanne). “The project is based on combining the cell separation technology of the German biotechnological company Miltenyi Biotec with the scientific experience of world leaders in applied cell-therapy cancer immunotherapy”, explained Dr. Ignacio Melero, an immunotherapy researcher at CIMA and co-director of the Immunology and Immunotherapy Service at the Clínica Universidad de Navarra, which directs the consortium.

The PROCROP project focuses on the development of vaccines for prostate cancers with post-surgical risks of relapse and metastatic ovarian cancer. As Dr. Melero says, “Immunotherapy is making a sea change in the treatment of cancer. The subpopulation of dendritic cells on which the project is working are the antigen-presenting cells which activate the immune response that can attack and destroy tumor cells. The separation of this minority cells subtype presents a technological challenge. The objective of this consortium is to test innovative cell therapy technology in two clinical trials in order to give individualized treatment to patients with these cancers. This approach is complimentary to the therapies which are available at present, and will improve the efficacy of the treatment for these patients”, the expert stated.

Abordaje multicéntrico

PROCROP brings together the experience of translational immunotherapy for cancer of basic research centers such as CIMA and CNIC, and that of medical research centers such as the Clínica Universidad de Navarra, the Radboud University Medical Center (The Netherlands) and the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois (Switzerland). In addition the biotechnology company Miltenyi Biotec GmbH (Germany), which contributes innovative cell therapy solutions for clinical application, is a participant.

“This project bridges the gap between patient treatment and the most advanced knowledge on the activation and maintenance of the immune response to cancer”, stated Dr. José Luis Pérez Gracia, a specialist in oncology and leader of the Clínica Universidad de Navarra group. Likewise, Dr. David Sancho, a researcher and the coordinator of the CNIC group, stresses that, together with the development of the new individualized immunotherapy product, “Multiple research work will be carried out on patient samples and experimental models in order to understand and measure the action mechanisms of the treatment”.

Further information: Project Professional cross-priming for ovary and prostate cancer – PROCROP.

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