They discover microproteins in liver tumors that could lead to cancer vaccines

A study carried out by the Hospital del Mar in Barcelona and the Sima University in Navarra, in collaboration with the Pompeu Fabra University (UPF), has discovered microproteins in liver tumors that will allow the creation of vaccines against cancer, the Hospital del Mar announced this Wednesday in a statement.

A study published in the journal Science Advances has identified a set of microproteins that are produced exclusively in liver tumors, making them “a clear target for immune system cells and a possible target for the development of cancer vaccines.”

The study analyzed data from tumors and healthy tissue from more than 100 liver cancer patients using a variety of advanced tools to detect these small molecules: very small proteins that are expressed only by tumor cells.

Development of new treatment methods

Hospital del Mar researcher Marta Espinosa said the work “demonstrates the presence of a significant number of microproteins expressed exclusively in tumor cells that could facilitate the development of new treatments.”

Cima researcher Puri Fortes explained that “some of these microproteins are capable of stimulating the immune system,” a fact that could trigger a response against cancer cells.

“We can enhance this response with vaccines similar to the coronavirus vaccines but that produce these microproteins,” Fortes added, adding that the goal is to advance research to achieve the use of these vaccines.

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