The Spanish Association Against Cancer (AECC) will support the doctor's laboratory in the development of an innovative in vivo functional screen strategy to identify new therapeutic targets.
The Spanish Association Against Cancer (AECC) has awarded funding to the laboratory of Dr. Alicia González-Martín for a project that aims to identify new therapeutic targets for cancer immunotherapy, within the latest call for projects LAB AECC 2020.
According to the researcher from the Institute for Biomedical Research Alberto Sols, her team is interested on "understanding the molecular mechanisms that regulate the immune system in health and disease, and one of our main lines of research focuses on in studying immune responses against cancer. The cells of our immune system not only defend us against infections by pathogens including viruses and bacteria, but also continuously function as sentinels in the body, detecting and eliminating incipient tumors before they develop. However, certain tumors are able to evade their destruction by the immune system through the generation of an immunosuppressive microenvironment. Cancer immunotherapy strategies harness the power of the immune system to attack and kill these tumors, for example, by restoring the function of certain lymphocytes. These therapies have achieved effective and long-lasting tumor remissions in some patients and this has been transformative in the possibilities that we now have to treat cancer. However, many other patients do not respond to the current immunotherapy strategies or respond very poorly, highlighting the need for a broader panel of therapeutic targets to improve current treatments and make them more effective in a greater numbers of patients".
In the project funded by the Spanish Association Against Cancer (AECC), the González-Martín group will develop an innovative in vivo functional screen strategy to identify new therapeutic targets that enhance antitumor responses mediated by cytotoxic T lymphocytes, a type of immune cell critical for the direct elimination of tumor cells. The researcher hopes that this project "will advance the frontiers of our knowledge in the field of tumor immunology and expand the panel of available therapeutic targets to design new effective and long-lasting immunotherapy strategies for cancer patients who do not respond or respond poorly to current treatments".
Dr. Alicia González-Martín graduated from the Autonoma University of Madrid with a degree in Biochemistry and completed her doctorate at the Spanish National Center for Biotechnology (Madrid) in the field of tumor immunology, specifically T cell-mediated anti-tumor immune responses. During this period, she also worked at the Institut de Génétique Moleculaire de Montpellier (France) to further her studies on T-cell immunobiology. She then moved to The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California (USA), where she focused his work on the role of microRNAs in immune responses and autoimmunity. González-Martín joined the Institute for Biomedical Research Alberto Sols, a joint research center of the Biochemistry Department of Autonoma University of Madrid and the Spanish Superior Council for Scientific Research, in September 2018.