Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy Center (CIIC) – Designing robust immunotherapies against cancer
The Cancer Immunology and
Drawing upon the expertise of internationally renowned researchers and clinicians from the Schools of Biology and Medicine, the Cancer Immunology and
Interdisciplinary research by CIIC experts in cancer biology, cancer immunology and cancer immunotherapy and other fields is yielding critical insights into the origins of cancer, while collaborations between the lab and clinic are working to move the most promising discoveries into improved diagnostic, treatment and prevention strategies.
Patients seeking care at St Savas Cancer Hospital may gain early access to these emerging therapies—and the benefits that they may offer—through the center’s clinical trials program.
The Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy Center (CIIC) is a leading translational research center for several types of cancer including breast and prostate cancer. There are scientists working in our center who are in close interaction and collaborate worldwide with other scientists and clinicians from US and European clinical research, universities and oncology centers, developing novel protocols on how to treat cancer. Our scientific team at the CIIC works in three main disciplines: discovery of new immunotherapeutic modalities in preclinical tumor/mouse models, vaccine-based phase I and phase II clinical trials, and discovery of novel prognostic and predictive biomarkers. Putting all these as an integrated approach, we aim to setting place better diagnostic tools for cancer and more effective forms of therapy. Our translational research is unique mostly due to the fact that it aims at the development of treatment modalities that could be of benefit not just for people suffering from cancer but also for people who are at risk for cancer, in this way preventing cancer in the future. The CIIC is a research entity consisting of scientists dedicated to the discovery of pathways which pave the way for diagnosing cancer in the future and in the way we can develop new ways of therapy. We surely believe that every day that passes brings us closer to the successful designing of robust cancer immunotherapies.
How we can help
The European Cancer Leagues states that 3 million new cancer cases per year occur in Europe (38 countries), with 2 million new cases in the EU alone. Prostate cancer and breast cancer account for almost one-third of the male and female European population, respectively, living with cancer. According to Eurostat 2011 figures on cancer, the age group 45-64 years (41%) is mainly at risk of developing cancer.
We are in close collaboration with research scientists and clinicians in Greece as well as in Europe and the USA aiming at improvement the diagnosis and therapeutic treatments of various types of cancer and particularly of prostate and breast cancer. We are placing a particular interest for the development of effective immunotherapic platforms (mostly in the form of peptide-based vaccines) aiming at the impro-vement of both the overall survival and quality of life for cancer patients.
Our scientific objectives follow two main directions which ascribe novelty and originality: in the first, by using appropriate algorithms we are identifying immunologically active regions within tumor proteins. Then by applying automated protein biosynthesis, we are synthesizing these regions (called peptides or poly-peptides, depending on their length) and we are testing them for their capacity (i) to activate the immune system in experimental animals in vivo but also in vitro working with cancer patients’ lymphocytes and (ii) to act as preventive and therapeutic vaccines in experimental tumor models. Once we have identified such candidate cancer peptide or poly-peptide vaccines, we are testing those for toxicity and immunologic activity as well as therapeutic efficacy in clinical trials. In the second direction, we are exploring the role a panel of soluble mediators and cells as prognostic and predictive biomarkers either by retrospectively analyzing data from phase I clinical trials or prospectively in a phase II studies. The scientific staff working at the CIIC, has both the expertise and the experience to guarantee the accomplishment of all the above objectives.