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Toward enhancing activities of European institutions in the FDUSCC-IM cancer research joint institute in China

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EU-China collaboration combats cancer

Cancer is a major global health threat, particularly in highly populated countries like China. The development of a framework facilitating international collaboration is of mutual interest for both China and Europe.

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The joint institute Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center - Institut Mérieux (FDUSCC-IM) laboratory was established in 2010 to work on research projects in oncology in China. The EU funded the four-year IMMUNOCAN (Toward enhancing activities of European institutions in the FDUSCC-IM cancer research joint institute in China) project was initiated in 2012 to promote medical collaboration between China and European countries. The focus was on identifying immune phenotypes that can serve as personalised cancer biomarkers for better prognosis and clinical management. During the course of the project, knowledge exchanges were facilitated by recruiting young researchers, organising two summer schools and seminars, a China-EU joint laboratories workshop and an international conference in China. Three other European scientific teams also joined this collaboration. The programme has already completed some technology transfers such as immune cells phenotyping and cytokines detection, and the quality management system has generated over 50 protocols. IMMUNOCAN collected patient samples from four cohorts and is currently analysing survival data. Researchers investigated circulating factors such as cytokines and chemokines in the healthy Chinese population as well as in those with advanced cancer. Results provide novel insight into the immune status in patients that could also serve as biomarkers to predict cancer progression, treatment response and survival. They also developed a glycoprotein biomarker detection assay for analysis of clinical samples (serum and plasma). This could be used for predicting survival of both breast and colorectal cancer patients. The IMMUNOCAN team increased the visibility of the programme by launching the project website, through several publications, and via participation in international presentations of project efforts in China and Europe. Project activities have resulted in the addition of another European partner to the FDUSCC-IM collaborative effort for future research projects. The discovery and validation of oncological biomarkers might open the path to new cancer therapy strategies in China. This has important implications for the healthcare sector and the clinical management of cancer patients.


China, cancer, IMMUNOCAN, immune phenotypes, biomarkers, cytokines

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