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Development and validation of a novel rationally designed immunotherapeutic combination strategy built upon targeting RANK(L) for cervical cancer.

Cervical cancer (CC) patients, especially those with advanced disease, are urgently in need of new treatment options that can increase their survival rate and quality of life. A promising strategy is immunotherapy, however, only a minority of patients responds to it because the cancer has developed mechanisms that evade its effects. In recent years, the RANKL/RANK signaling pathway has been implicated as one such mechanism, as it allows many cancer types - including CC - to circumvent the immune response by disrupting the communication of the immune cells. Supported by our first results, we strongly believe that blocking the RANKL/RANK signal can release the brakes on the immune system and reinvigorate the tumor's susceptibility to immunotherapy. We therefore aim to expose the best possible immunotherapeutic partner(s) for anti-RANK(L) therapy in order to achieve the most optimal anti-tumor immune effects. For this, we have unique access to CC samples retrieved from patients before and after anti-RANKL monotherapy, which we will thoroughly investigate to reveal immune related changes. Thereafter, we will perform additional laboratory tests that will allow us to pinpoint one best-in-class anti-RANKL combination strategy, which we will further optimize in CC mouse models. Finally, this project will validate a novel imaging technique to stratify patients and monitor treatment response for this therapy, thereby minimizing treatment - and economic burden.
Date:1 Nov 2020 →  Today
Disciplines:Gynaecology, Immunology not elsewhere classified, Cancer therapy