About the project

ULISES aims at developing a new nanotechnology-based treatment strategy where cancer cells that are invisible to the patient’s immune system are reprogrammed to become “visible”.


According to the statistics from the World Health Organization, cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, counting for approximately 9.6 million deaths in 2018. This figure is expected to increase by 60% by 2040 due to the ageing and increase of the world’s population.
While cancer treatments are currently based on surgical resection of the tumour (if possible), chemotherapy, radiotherapy, target-driven therapies and immunotherapy, ULISES aims to set out an all-new therapeutic strategy based on nanotechnologies.

By using nanotechnologies to deliver plasmid DNA into tumorous cells for reprogramming, the ULISES project will develop a disruptive treatment that enables the immune system to see what has, until now, been invisible. This approach doesn’t seek to alter genetics of the cancer cells; rather it helps the immune system to recognise and attack these cells once they’ve been “flagged” as incompatible.


The Objectives

The breakthrough therapy developed by researchers in the ULISES project will offer several advantages over current therapies:

  • A significantly much higher efficiency with respect to the rest of current therapies is expected to be reached, since ULISES strategy will provoke the strongest rejection by the patient’s immune system against cancer cells.
  • It will constitute a “natural” treatment, as the patient’s own immune system is used to attack the cancer cells, without the use of drugs, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, transplants, etc, thus avoiding the considerable side effects of current strategies, providing the patient with a more comfortable and efficient solution.
  • Future relapses will be avoided, since TIL (Tumour Infiltrating Lymphocytes) generated around the tumour microenvironments by the patient’s own immune system will provide an acquired immunity or immunological – memory leading to a “vaccine effect”.
  • It will be a “global” treatment, since only 3 subtypes of HLA – A (Human Leukocyte Antigens A), ULISES will be able to target the entire population, without the requirements of personalized treatment.
  • It can be easily and rapidly adapted to any type of cancer with minimal modification;
  • A significant cost saving is planned as it is not a personalized treatment.
  • Treatment time reduced, moving from several weeks/months to few weeks as soon as anti – HLA antibodies are elicited and the antibody mediated cancer rejection is triggered.


The ULISES radically new immunological incompatibility therapy for cancer treatment will thus place Europe at the forefront of disruptive future technology. The multidisciplinarity of the ULISES consortium bringing together highly-skilled, complementary researchers, industrial partners and end-users’ representatives will facilitate the transition to innovation and the market.

Media kit

Discover and download the graphic materials produced by ULISES.