Exploring the synergistic effects of immunotherapy and photon/proton therapy for the treatment of breast cancer


  • Call:

    ProtoTera Call 2021/1

  • Academic Year:


  • Supervisor:

    João Galamba Correia

  • Co-Supervisor:

    Joana Guerreiro

  • Host Institution:

    C2TN - Centro de Ciências e Tecnologias Nucleares

  • Granting Degree Institution:

    Instituto Superior Técnico (Universidade de Lisboa)

  • Typology:


  • Abroad Institution:

    Instituto Superior Técnico (Universidade de Lisboa)

  • Abroad Supervisor:

    Joao Seco

  • Abstract:

    The combined use of immunotherapy and radiotherapy has the potential to significantly improve the treatment of breast cancer. In particular, the use of particle therapies such as proton therapy emerged as being highly promising due to the predictably different immunologic effects resulting from irradiation with photons or protons. Notably, particle therapy is foreseen to result in reduced off-target tissue irradiation, sparing healthy tissues and leading to a reduced local depletion of infiltrating lymphocytes, which should contribute to increased antitumor immune responses, the elimination of disseminated metastases, and a better patient prognosis. With this in mind, the aim of this study is to undertake a systematic comparison of the potential synergic effects between IT and RT, namely comparing standard photon therapy with the emerging proton therapy. The evaluation of the effects of both immunotherapy/radiotherapy regimens on biological systems will start with studies on relevant breast cancer cellular models, which, if successful, will be extended to relevant animal models. The selected candidate will have the possibility to work at two academic institutions of research excellence: the Centro de Ciências e Tecnologias Nucleares (C2TN), a research unit of Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa; and the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), namely on the Division of Biomedical Physics in Radiation Oncology group. This work will also benefit from the ongoing collaboration and joint ventures between the C2TN group and the Translational Oncobiology group from Instituto de Medicina Molecular João lobo Antunes (iMM-JLB), Faculdade de Medicina, ULisboa and their complementary expertise in the fields of oncobiology and radiobiology, considering the potential clinical applications of new therapeutic approaches for metastatic breast cancer.

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