Fundación para la Investigación Médica Aplicada (FIMA) / Centro de Investigación Médica Aplicada (CIMA)

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Professor Melero’s group has been developing research in the field of Cancer Immunotherapy for more than 15 years. The main topics of research have been related to role of co-stimulatory molecules in cancer immunotherapy, vaccination with DCs and development of novel approaches for immunotherapy comprising the use of gene therapy of cytokine therapy. The interdisciplinary nature of the group and important collaboration with clinicians have resulted in a complex approach to the immune system in tumors, ranging from basic biochemistry of co-stimulatory receptors to the identification of novel pharmaceutical products. Professor Melero’s lab has as well being involved in many collaborations with experts in the field both within Europe and USA. The combination of the broad expertise of the lab and the collaborative attitude have resulted in relevant publications in important journals of the field: PNAS, Cancer Discovery, Clinical Cancer Research.

The Laboratory of Immunology in the Gene Therapy division led by Dr. Melero is a translational research group covering early discovery research to clinical trials sponsored by pharmaceutical industry or by the institution. The major strengths of the group are the analysis of the mechanism of action of immunostimulatory monoclonal antibodies directed to CD137 and B7-H1 (PD-L1). Dr. Melero and his group have extensive preclinical and clinical experience with immunostimulatory monoclonal antibodies and pioneered the work with anti-CD137 mAb. The group is composed of approximately 15 staff members at different levels of training. Regarding gender aspects, the laboratory has a distribution of 5 men and 10 women. (33%/67%).

Staff enrolled in the project

  • Dr. Ignacio Melero
    Dr. Ignacio Melero PROCROP Coordinator

    Tlf. +34 948194700. Ext 3029

    Dr. Melero is a clinical immunologist and serves as a full professor of immunology at the University of Navarra and as a senior scientist at CIMA. In addition, he has an appointment as a consultant physician at the department of Oncology in the University clinic. Dr. Melero has been working in tumour immunology/immunotherapy for 18 years focusing on co‐stimulation of the T cell response against cancer, dendritic cell vaccination and gene therapy with cytokine genes. During his PhD training, he became involved in the characterization of surface receptor molecules with inhibitory and activatory function on Natural Killer cells. His work at the laboratory of Prof. Lopez‐Botet resulted in the description of KIRs and CD94. During his postdoctoral period in Seattle, WA US his work was devoted to experimental antitumour immunotherapy. He continued to work in the emerging field of co‐stimulation in the antitumour immune response against cancer using transplantable tumour models and he developed new techniques to monitor the antitumour immune response in the laboratories of Dr. Carl E. Hellstrom and Lieping Chen, before he was recruited by the University of Navarra In 1998 as an associate professor and was promoted to full professor in 2004.

  • Dr. Pedro Berraondo
    Dr. Pedro Berraondo Researcher

    Tlf. +34 948194700. Ext 3004

    Dr. Berraondo completed his B.S. Degree in Pharmacy and earned his Pharm D. in drug design, synthesis and evaluation from the University of Navarra in 2004. His main project was the production and evaluation of an adeno-associated virus encoding interferon alpha for the treatment of chronic hepatitis in the woodchuck model. Dr. Berraondo carried out postdoctoral research at the Institut Pasteur in Paris under the supervision of Dr. Claude Leclerc, where he worked on tumour immunotherapy for the European project THERAVAC. In February 2007, he joined the Gene Therapy and Hepatology department at CIMA. Dr. Berraondo primary research interests include tumour gene immunotherapy and protein and peptide drug delivery.

  • Álvaro Teijeira Sánchez, PhD
    Álvaro Teijeira Sánchez, PhD Postdoctoral Student

    Tlf +34 948194700. Ext 3030

    Dr. Álvaro Teijeira got his biochemistry degree in University of Navarra in 2008. He obtained his PhD degree in molecular and cellular Biology in Universtiy of Navarra in 2012 for studying mechanisms of Dendritic cell migration across lymphatic vessels in inflammatory conditions under the direction of Dr Ana Rouzaut and Prof. Ignacio Melero. In 2013 he started his postdoctoral training in ETH Zürich under the Supervision of Prof. Cornelia Halin where he kept on studying leukocyte migration via LVs, getting specialized in intravital imaging techniques. He joined back Prof. Melero’s group in Sept 2015 to work on XP-DC vaccination in preclinical models and imaging of immunotherapy.

  • Arantza Azpilikueta
    Arantza Azpilikueta Technician

    Tlf +34 948194700. Ext 3029

    Arantza Azpilikueta got her bachelor in Biology in 1999 and her biochemistry degree in 2000. Worked in food safety related research from 2000 to 2004. During this year she got a fellowship for education in specialized technician in food safety to implement techniques of parasite detection in milk in ALVO. After a short stage working in vaccination against Maedi Visna virus in the Institute of Agrobiotechnology of the Scientif investigation Spanish Council (CSIC) joined Prof. Nacho Melero’s group in 2005 as a laboratory technician. Currently working as Prof Melero’s lab manager she has been focused in research related to Cancer Immunotherapy having published up to 21 papers in International Journals as PNAS and Cancer Discovery.

  • Elixabet Bolaños Mateo
    Elixabet Bolaños Mateo Technician

    Tlf +34 948194700. Ext 3029

    Elixabet Bolaños got her bachelor degree in Biology and Biochemistry in University of Navarra. In 2007 she started working in Gene Therapy against cancer under Dr Cheng Quian supervision in CIMA. In 2008 she moved to a new group inside CIMA working in Gene Therapy under Ruben Hernandez supervision. Elixabet Bolaños has been credited to work in GMP laboratories and joined Prof. Melero’s group in 2010. Since then she has been working in cancer immunotherapy approaches focusing mainly in adoptive T cell therapy.

  • Carmen Molina Samper
    Carmen Molina Samper Technician

    Tlf +34 948194700. Ext 3032

    Carmen Molina got her degree in chemistry in University of Zaragoza in 2000. In 2001 she joined the Neurology Division of CIMA in Pamplona to work as a technician under the supervision of Dr. Marisol Aymerich. She worked for 10 years in research related to basal ganglia in the brain. She Joined Prof Melero’s lab in October 2015.

  • Alfonso Rodríguez Sánchez-Paulete
    Alfonso Rodríguez Sánchez-Paulete Predoctoral Student

    Tlf +34 948194700. Ext 3032

    Alfonso Rodríguez Sánchez-Paulete studied a degree in Biotechnology at University Francisco de Vitoria in Madrid, finishing his studies in 2012. The next year he carried out his master’s degree in Biomedical Research at University of Navarra under the direction of Dr. Ignacio Melero. After finishing the master’s degree, he began his PhD in Dr. Melero’s laboratory. His main research has been focused in the role of XP-DC in antibody based immunotherapy having published recently an important paper in the high impact journal Cancer Discovery.

  • Juan Manuel Saiz
    Juan Manuel Saiz R&D Management European Projects

    Tlf. +34 948194700. Ext 5039

    Juan Manuel Saiz. Research and Innovation Manager at FIMA. He is a Certified Project Management Professional (PMP) with over 10 years’ experience in the management of EU-funded projects under FP7, H2020, Eureka-Eurostars, etc. He has worked at different Universities and Research and Technology Organisations with a focus on legal, financial and administrative aspects.

Role and contribution

In PROCROP, FIMA will act as a coordinator of the project and Dissemination and Transfer of knowledge (WP5 & WP6). It is responsible for all aspects of the interface between the project partners and the European Commission. FIMA has appointed two AIPGENE Coordinators, Dr. Gloria González-Aseguinolaza, who will be the focal point for the overall scientific coordination, and Dr. Andrew Solomon, who will manage the administrative and financial content. FIMA is implicated in all the WPs:

  • WP1: Analysis of the therapeutic efficacy of the Clinical batch in AIP mice.
  • WP2: Elaboration of the clinical protocol. Genetic characterisation of PBGD mutation. Detemination of immune response aginst the vector in patients.
  • WP3: Determination of viral shedding, report on the analysis of humoral and cellular immune response against the vector and the PBGD protein, analysis of the oncogenic potential of AAV-AAT-PBGD in animal models.
  • WP4: Efficacy analysis ALA and PBG measurements.
  • WP5: Management and meeting organization.
  • WP6: Dissemination activities.
Contact with PROCROP

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