The PANIPAC project: Photoactivable nanoparticles to immunostimulate the tumour micro-environment in pancreatic cancer
There is a pressing medical need to develop innovative therapeutic approaches to improve the outcome and survival of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) patients. While the development of immunotherapies has represented a breakthrough that has revolutionized oncology treatments, they have proven non-efficacious in pancreatic tumours since they are considered non-immunogenic tumours with a tolerogenic/immunosuppressive tumour microenvironment. Thus, turning pancreatic tumours into immunogenic tumours could open up new treatment avenues, making them candidates for immunotherapies. To meet this aim, PANIPAC proposes the development of photoactivable nanoemulsions made of bioactive sphingolipids, which via a dual mechanism of action should increase the immunogenicity of pancreatic tumours. This goal can be achieved by i) reverting the tolerogenic/ immunosuppressive tumour microenvironment of pancreatic cancer by modulating the phenotype of tumor-associated immune cells, and ii) mediating the infiltration of T effector lymphocytes to reset the immunogenicity of pancreatic tumours, and make them candidates for the development of combinatory therapies with checkpoint inhibitors and/or other immunotherapies such as bispecific antibodies.
We are hiring a full-time post doc to investigate how nanotechnology could manipulate and/or reeducate the immune cells of the tumor microenvironment and locally deliver substances that can stimulate immunological responses. Successful delivery of nanoemulsions will be explored in vitro on a 3D pancreatic tumor model co-cultured with immune cells.
The PANIPAC project is coordinated by Dr Rafael López (CIBER Center for Biomedical Research Network) and will be carried out in collaboration with Dr Bruno Sainz (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid, Spain), Dr Protti (IRCCS Ospedale San Raffaele, Milan, Italy) and Dr Deschamps (Stanipharm, France).
The candidate must hold a PhD, or obtain a PhD in the near future, should have solid experience in the areas of cell biology, immunology and/or tumor-microenvironment interactions as demonstrated by the publication record, including at least one first authorship.
Experience with formulation and characterization of drug delivery systems is also advantageous.
The candidate must be proficient in oral and written English. We are looking for candidates who have excellent communication skills, are team-oriented, driven, focused, self-motivated, trustworthy, critical and open-minded.
To apply, email simona.mura [at] u-psud.fr with the subject “PANIPAC_postdoc”
The application must be in English and include a curriculum vitae with names and contact information for 3 references, a complete list of publications, information about previous research activities, a statement of interest and future research plans. The application documents must be sent as a single PDF file.
Applications will be reviewed as they are received and will continue until the position is filled.
Start date: flexible (from November 2019 to February 2020)
Duration: 24 months
Place: Institut Galien Paris-Sud, UMR CNRS 8612, 5 rue JB Clement, 92290, Chatenay Malabry, France