Pancreatic cancer (PDAC) is a highly aggressive and devastating malignancy with a 5-year survival rate of only 3%. It is clear that new treatment options are desperately needed. Immunotherapy is such a treatment option.
In patients with malignant mesothelioma it was shown that dendritic cell immunotherapy had a positive effect on the survival of these patients. Since pancreatic cancer has many similarities to mesothelioma, including the expression of immune-reactive antigens, we would like to test if it is feasible to treat pancreatic cancer patients with dendritic cell immunotherapy.
During this study we will first map the immune system in blood and tumor tissues of patients. We will look at the presence of specific immune cells, mainly T cells and their subsets. Subsequently, we will treat patients with ‘ready-to-use’ dendritic cell immunotherapy and monitor their clinical evolution. By monitoring the systemic and local immune profile we will be able to determine the effect of dendritic cell immunotherapy on the immune system of the individual patient. This will show us if this type of treatment is feasible and effective for pancreatic cancer patients. In the future this could lead to a new maintenance treatment option for patients with pancreatic cancer.
Our project will explore a novel treatment possibility for pancreatic cancer patients. The results will lead to: i) insight in the basal status of the immune system in pancreatic cancer patients, ii) insight in the effect of DC maintenance therapy on the immune signature of pancreatic cancer patients over time and iii) a proof-of-concept concerning feasibility and efficacy of DC immunotherapy in pancreatic cancer.
The results of our study will contribute to the development of a novel treatment for pancreatic cancer patients. In addition we expect this treatment to increase the quality of life of patients compared to the current standard of care treatment with chemotherapy.