About Dr Philana Fernandes
Philana is researching how to effectively harness the immune system to target primary and secondary pancreatic cancer.
Theme / Team
Electrochemotherapy, Autophagy, Immunotherapy, Electroporation
Having completed her BSc and MSc at Imperial College London, Philana obtained her PhD at UCC examining cell death and the immune response in colon cancer. She has recently joined the Pancreatic Cancer team at the CCRC, headed by Dr Patrick Forde, where she is examining the effects of electroporation, a cell permeabilising technology, in combination with chemotherapy on the immune response in pancreatic cancer.
Electrochemotherapy (ECT) has been used with great success in the treatment of surface cancers and more recently, with internal tumours. Whilst ECT is effective at resolving tumours close to the treatment location, it can also recruit an anti-cancer immune response which has been shown to have an off target response. Philana is investigating the mechanism by which pancreatic cancer cells die in order to examine and potentiate this off target response. This work has the potential to lead to the development of a novel, immune based therapy for pancreatic cancer, capable of targeting both the primary and metastatic disease.