CE17 - Recherche translationnelle en santé

HERV-based immunotherapy development for colorectal cancer treatment – HERIC

Submission summary

The potential of immunotherapy to achieve durable responses in some MSI-H colorectal cancers (CRC) has been recognized. However, the need for biomarkers that could predict immune checkpoint inhibitors response became apparent. Beyond MSI-H CRC, the critical challenge is to develop strategies for targeting MSS CRC, which constitute 90% of CRC cases and for which current immunotherapy approaches have been largely unsuccessful. Characterizing the nature of MSS CRC-associated antigens is an important issue to better extend the potential of immunotherapy in this disease. Human endogenous retroviruses (HERV) are remnants of germline infections with defective activity nowadays. We hypothesize that HERV expression restored during CRC oncogenesis represent a source of antigens that can be used to stratify immunotherapy efficacy for CRC patients and to develop new approaches of immunotherapy in particular for MSS CRC. This ANR JC-JC 2021 will be used as a first stone to develop a young researcher’s theme in France.

Project coordination


The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


University of Geneva / Dept. of Pathology and Immunology

Help of the ANR 303,400 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: September 2021 - 48 Months

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