Immunomodulation and Tumor Microenvironment

"We have identified proteins and peptides capable of transporting antigens to dendritic cells. This manages to increase the immunogenicity of the vaccines."

DR. JUAN JOSÉ LASARTE
RESEARCHER. IMMUNOMODULATION AND TUMOR MICROENVIRONMENT RESEARCH GROUP

The Immunomodulation and Tumor Microenvironment Group at Cima seeks to develop antitumor therapies by identifying small molecules capable of blocking the activity of immunosuppressive cells, especially CD4+CD25+ Foxp3+ regulatory T cells (nTreg). These cells play an essential role in the control of the immune system and autoimmune diseases. However, their activity is a brake on the activation of antitumor immune responses. 

On the other hand, immunotherapy based on adoptive transfer of T lymphocytes shows that, in some types of tumors such as melanoma, T lymphocytes can achieve a long-lasting antitumor response, even in situations with advanced metastatic disease. These strategies, however, are not effective in other tumor types.

Our group is working on analyzing the in vivo utility of small molecules in different immunotherapy models and on finding alternatives to increase the efficacy of adoptive transfer by gene modification of T lymphocytes using immunostimulatory chimeric receptors. These genetically modified cells could overcome tumor-induced immunosuppression and eradicate malignant tumor cells.

Our group coordinates the DESCARTHeS Project (Strategic Development of CAR-T therapies for the treatment of Hematological and Solid Tumors), funded by the Government of Navarra, and in which another biomedical research center (Navarrabiomed), two hospitals (the Clínica Universidad de Navarra and the Complejo Hospitalario de Navarra) and a biotechnological company from Navarra (Recombina Biotech) participate.

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Objectives of the Research Group in
Immunomodulation and Tumor Microenvironment

Improving the antitumor efficacy of immunotherapy based on adoptive transfer of T lymphocytes in different tumor types


Study of tumor-induced immunosuppressive mechanisms.


Identification and in vivo validation of small molecules that block Treg cell activity for the development of antitumor therapies.


Design of alternatives
to increase the efficacy of CAR-T cell
CAR-T cell therapy.

FROM THE LABORATORY TO THE CLINIC

Immunotherapeutic molecules

Our group has identified inhibitory peptides of the transcription factor Foxp3 that block the action of regulatory T cells and even potentiate the function of effector CD4 T lymphocytes.

Their in vivo utility in different immunotherapy models is currently being analyzed.