Awards and Prizes
MD: Dr De La Peña graduated 1st place of the class 95/02 with the Highest Score and the Maximum Double Honorary Mention: Summa Cum Laude and Magna Cum Laude. UAC, Faculty of Medicine, Mexico.
PHD In Cancer Immunotherapy and Immunogenetics. University College London (UCL), Royal Free Hospital, London, UK (2002-2007).
Post Doctoral Fellowships: Cancer Immunology, National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR), Medical Research Council (MRC) and Downing College, University of Cambridge, UK (2007-2009).
MRCP: Medical Oncology Training at Oxford University Hospitals (2015-2019).
FRCP: Elected as Fellow of the Royal College (Aug 2022).
First ever Oncology Chief Registrar for the Royal College of Physicians (2018-2019).
Young Scientist Award on behalf of the British Society of Immuno Genetics (BSHI) for Oustanding Contribution to Cancer Immunotherapy. Dublin Castle. 2004.
European Young Scientist Award on behalf of the European Association for Cancer Research for Outstanding Contribution in the Progress in Vaccination against Cancer. St Catherine's College, University of Cambridge, UK, 2010.
Dr De La Peña specialises in the killing of cancer cells by T cells, what he calls "the most powerful killing machinery known to man". T cells are key cells in our immune system, trained to recognise foreign from self, that includes viruses such as COVID19 for instance, but also cancer.
We have known for years that cytotoxic T cells (both CD8s and CD4s) cure people from cancer, but no one yet knows still (in the majority of cancers), exactly what it is that the T cells see and recognise on the surface of the cancer cells, we know they are peptides bound to MHC Class I and Class II molecules, but their exact sequences are not yet known. That is exactly what Dr De La Peña's research is trying to adress, what he calls "The immunological signature of each cancer" based on post-translational modified unique cancer peptides.
Once these cancer signatures are known, the treatment of cancer will be fundamentally different with higher cure rates and also much less toxic approaches.