IRB Barcelona paves way for using immunotherapy to treat aggressive colon tumours and their metastasis

By February 21, 2018March 1st, 2018IRB Barcelona

A team headed by ICREA researcher and group leader at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona), Eduard Batlle, has discovered that immune system-stimulating treatments combined with a TGF-beta inhibitor are effective against colon cancer.

The researchers developed a mouse model that mimics advanced human colon cancer. This model has allowed them to study the immune system response for the first time.

In a short space of time, immunotherapy, that is to say therapies based on stimulating the immune system against cancer cells, has become a powerful approach to treat cancers such as melanoma and lung cancer. However, to date, most colon tumours appeared to be unresponsive to this kind of therapy. Given this observation, it was hypothesized that this kind of tumour was simply invisible to the immune system. In a study published today in the journal Nature, a team headed by ICREA researcher Eduard Batlle, at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona), explains that the hormone TGF-beta is responsible for the “blindness” of the immune system to colon cancer cells.

More information can be found in the video below and on the IRB Barcelona website.