Paul Workman, president and CEO of the Institute of Cancer Research in London: “The world for cancer patients will be very different over the next 20 years thanks to immunotherapy”.
CRIS Cancer Foundation operates in three countries: Spain, France and the United Kingdom. Each entity operates autonomously, but we all work together with a common goal: to stamp out cancer.
The UK-based organisation, which has been fighting this disease through research for over 8 years, has recently presented a cheque for £1.4 million to the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in London with a view to creating and leading a new research team in immunotherapy. The ICR is one of the most influential institutions and a world leader in cancer research. It works with the Royal Marsden, a world-leading hospital in the treatment of cancer.
This new Immunotherapy group is led by a highly promising young researcher from the United S, she and her team intend to surge ahead in this field and get a step closer to eliminating cancer. The work this group will be carrying out, which has “tremendous clinical projection”, will focus on characterising the molecular alterations of tumour cells that allow them to evade the immune system. Specifically, the defective proteins that cause changes in cell shape and lead to the spread of cancer. This knowledge will help to improve one of the immunotherapy treatments that offers greater protection: CAR-T cells. Dr Astero Klampatsa has experience with these therapies and is a leading light in the study and treatment of mesothelioma, (a type of cancer that is very hard to treat), using CAR-T cells.
Paul Workman, CEO and president of the Institute of Cancer Research in London, thanked CRIS for its “generous” donation and hopes to be able to “reveal more about its research plans as the team and lab are set up over the coming weeks“. “Without the help of CRIS, it would not have been possible to get this project up and running“, he pointed out.
- As Workman pointed out, the value of CRIS in cancer research is that it “finances very promising projects, with great potential, in the early stages, which might otherwise have found it difficult to secure funding initially”.
The future of research
Workman also added that “the current situation is very exciting, especially for young researchers. We are discovering the impact of sequencing tumour genomes in the identification of therapeutic targets, which is allowing us to improve targeted therapies. It is a time when immune therapies are exploding, such as cell therapies, with antibodies…“.
Thanks to this, they will have the tools to begin understanding and fighting this disease with a different perspective. Workman noted that one out of every two people will develop cancer, so it affects everyone in the world: it is all our responsibility, so any help can make all the difference to help fight the disease.
Workman expressed the view that cancer could be reduced significantly over the coming years, through research. “Over the last 40 years, patient survival has doubled“, he stated. “The new advances are really driving up the rate of progress in the fight against cancer. He added: “it is important to increase patient survival with good quality of life. Gradually this will translate into a full recovery for most patients. “The world for cancer patients will be very different over the next 20 years”.
“Much of this will be thanks to immunotherapy, which is very important for the future of cancer treatment, but not all patients respond well to it, so we must continue to look for alternatives. So, the combination with targeted therapies and surgery will be hugely important in the coming years” he stated.
There are currently many paths open to combat this disease. He went on to say: “The CRIS cancer group in London is making great progress. One member of this group is making significant progress with CAR-T cells.