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University of Oxford and University join forces to research and apply new immunotherapy techniques to cancer patients

Dr. Ignacio Melero, from the University of Navarra, has been appointed Full Professor (Kidani Chair of Oncology) at the University of Oxford.

PhotoManuelCastells/From left to right, Richard Cornall, Paloma Grau and researcher of the University of Navarra, Ignacio Melero.

23 | 11 | 2022

The University of Oxford and the University of Navarra have signed an agreement agreement to research and apply new techniques in immunotherapy to cancer patients. This is the only active agreement in this field that a Spanish university signature with the University of Oxford (NDM Department).

This agreement aims to boost scientific production at both institutions, sharing strategic initiatives and supporting clinical trials at both centers. Another objective is to promote the medical teaching of Degree and postgraduate program at both universities. Exchanges of staff and students will be facilitated and new opportunities will be explored for work in research programs, in addition to sharing materials and publications. 

The event, held in the Hall of Degrees of Central Building, was attended by Paloma Grau, Vice President of research and Sustainability of the University of Navarra; Richard Cornall, professor and director of department o f Clinical Medicine at the Uni versity of Oxford; and Dr. Ignacio Melero, co-director of the Department of Immunology and Immunotherapy of the University of Navarra and senior of the University of Navarra. Clínica Universidad de Navarra e researcher senior of the Cima University of Navarra.

Dr. Melero highlighted the relevance of agreement, which will combine the technological capacity and power multidisciplinary of the University of Oxford with the trajectory and areas in which the University of Navarra is an expert in cancer immunology and immunotherapy. "The idea is that there will be a mutual synergistic benefit between the two institutions. There is no doubt that Oxford has one of the best research staffs in immunology in Europe, focused mainly on the study of autoimmunity, the development of vaccines and the analysis of tissues in immune system disease. At the University of Navarra, since the beginning of the 21st century, we have developed a very important activity both in basic research and in immunotherapy clinical trials", he explained. 

The synergy of the two institutions, at the service of the patient

Dr. Melero has been appointed Full Professor (Kidani Chair of Oncology) at the University of Oxford. He is attached to St. Cross College and will carry out his activity of research in OXCIO, the Oxford Center of Immuno-oncology, which is a nascent center dependent on the Departments of Medicine and Oncology of the English university. 

"It is conceivable that through the combination of several therapies, the improvement of patients can be very important. From the point of view of the preclinical development of these treatments and clinical trials, both the Cima University of Navarra and the Clinic have played a relevant role, especially in the early advance of combinations of several immunotherapy agents," he added.

In this regard, Richard Cornall, professor and director of the department of Clinical Medicine at the University of Oxford, highlighted the work developed by the University of Navarra in research against cancer during the last ten years, in immuno-oncology and particularly in clinical trials, "where it is a model in Europe and a center of excellence". 

Cornall has detailed that one of the main challenges of this agreement is to coordinate the work of researchers and favor the relationship with patients, to support them and see how they can contribute to the research."Approximately, one in two of us will have cancer in our lifetime," he has warned. "Today we have a great opportunity to advance research in immuno-oncology. As we understand more about the immune system, how our body fights infections and how we respond to vaccines, we can develop new methods to address treatments for cancer and other diseases. I believe that if we combine the strengths of both universities and take risks, we can make a difference and possibly cure many more cancer patients in the next 20 years," he concluded.  

The Vice President of research and Sustainability of the University of Navarra, Paloma Grau, thanked the University of Oxford for partnership with the University of Navarra and recalled that research in the field of oncology is part of one of the priority lines of work of the University's Strategy 2025: "One of the objectives of the University is to generate synergies and promote partnership between institutions to put our science at the service of society, in this case, at the service of cancer patients".