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A Spanish research group of immunobiology offers new approaches for treating immune-related diseases such as graft rejection and cancer. The innovation is based on the use of biologics targeting precise co-signal pathways, that is, co-inhibitory and costimulatory pathways to modulate immune responses. The research group is searching for research collaborators within the academic environment or pharmaceutical companies willing to collaborate in their development and clinical use.
The Spanish research group works in the field of immunotherapy within an academic environment in close collaboration with pharmaceutical companies with interest in targeting graft rejection, graft versus host disease, and enhancing anti-tumour responses against haematological malignancies using preclinical mouse model of diseases and biologics (monoclonal antibodies and recombinant fusion proteins).
The conventional approach to treat graft rejection, graft-versus-host-disease (GvHD) and tumours are the use immunosuppressants and cytotoxic drugs. This paradigm is nowadays changing towards the implementation of innovative immunomodulatory strategies targeting the exchange of information between dendritic cells and T cells that drives the generation of effector T cells and the collaboration between T follicular helper cells and B cells for the formation of antibodies. The temporal and spatial expression of co-signalling receptors and their ligands regulates the early stages of T cell activation, clonal expansion and survival of T cells during their differentiation towards effector T cells.
Once the inflammatory stimulus is eliminated, effector T cells return to homeostasis after undergoing a contraction phase by activation-induced cell death and by the intervention of ligands for co-inhibitory receptors, leaving alive a population of long-term memory T cells.
Two group of proteins of the immunoglobulin superfamily such as CTLA-4/CD28/CD80/CD86 and PD-1 - PD-L1 - PD-L2 that function as co-signalling receptors and ligands are the focus of intense research. The former group functions at the early phase of T cell activation and the latter predominantly controls the effector phase of the immune response in peripheral tissues. In the last years, blockade of these immune check-points to potentiate effective anti-tumour responses has advanced the field of cancer immunotherapy enormously. However, only a subgroup of patients responds to therapy with current immune checkpoint inhibitors. Therefore, other modulators of the T cell response need to be explored.
An international partnership, under research cooperation agreement, would be welcomed to explore the potential use of biologics developed in the laboratory in other preclinical mouse models of immunological interest. The laboratory can offer the biologics to target known co-signalling pathways and can also engage in the development of novel biologics to target emerging pathways in collaboration with other groups.
The innovations introduced by the use of recombinant proteins and monoclonal antibodies for treating diseases is a new paradigm of great interest for pharmaceutical companies that offer more specific targets for immune intervention compared to conventional strategies based on the use of immunosuppressants for transplant rejection and cytotoxic drugs for cancer therapy. These therapies target different costimulatory and co-inhibitory pathways that control T cell activation and differentiation to enhance either anti-tumour responses or attenuate allogeneic immune responses involved in graft rejection.
The research group is searching for active university research collaborators and pharmaceutical industrial partners working in the preclinical field of transplantation research and immunotherapy of cancer. We are looking forward to establishing collaborative research agreements and collaborate with partners interested in translational medicine willing to explore the inventions and move the treatments to the market.