Explotation of Cross-Priming for Cancer Immunotherapy

Our hypothesis is that intra-tumor injection of specific proinflammatory substances and viral vectors may cause some tumor lesions to behave like immunogenic vaccines that can awaken the relevant immune response so that it also attacks non-injected tumors that share the same antigens. A population of professional dendritic cells highly specialized at presenting antigens acquired from other cells (such as cancer cells) has recently been found to be involved in a phenomenon that we have shown to be critical in cancer immunotherapy called cross-presentation. We are trying strategies based on this type of therapeutic approach in clinical trials of combined immunotherapy that involve intra-tumor injection of viral analogs, radiation therapy and vaccination with dendritic cells. We are also isolating and differentiating professional cross-presentation dendritic cells for intra-tumor injection and clinical vaccination strategies (PROCROP project, Horizon 2020).

"There are antigen-presenting cells that are a very small minority but are absolutely critical in cancer immunotherapy. We are trying to understand and exploit their function in treatment.", Dr. Ignacio Melero

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