This initiative aims to advance the study of a new and effective therapeutic alternative that improves the lives of pancreatic cancer patients.

The consortium formed by SunRock Biopharma and the Health Research Institute of Santiago de Compostela (IDIS) has obtained funding of 1.8 million euros to develop the IMPANC research project, whose objective is finding new immunotherapeutic strategies for the treatment of pancreatic cancer. This project is being developed within the framework of the 2022 call for R&D&i Projects in Strategic Lines, of the State Research Agency, financed by public funds from the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan.

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most serious and late-diagnosed cancers. In 2020, 495,773 new cases were diagnosed worldwide (8,211 in Spain alone), a figure that is expected to increase by 60% by 2040. This cancer also has the lowest five-year survival expectations, with only 7%, and is the third leading cause of cancer death in Spain.

Given the urgent need to find more effective and safe treatments, the IMPANC project aims to progress on studying a novel and effective therapeutic alternative using a new approach to understanding the role of the CCR9 target in pancreatic cancer. SunRock Biopharma, partially owned by XesGalicia, has developed a first-in-class antibody against CCR9 that has been shown to improve survival in animal models of different types of cancer, which would be a major breakthrough in the fight against this disease. The new anti-CCR9 antibody could be used in combination with standard chemotherapy or immunotherapies currently used in clinical practice, or even as an alternative to them.

The three research groups of IDIS participating in the IMPANC project (ONCOMET, Pathological Anatomy, and GITEAD) will validate the results obtained so far in samples from cancer patients. At the same time, they will develop strategies for the characterization of new biomarkers that allow this treatment to be brought closer to patients using liquid biopsy techniques.