Cancer remains the leading cause of disease-related death in children. For the ~25% of children who experience relapses of their malignant solid tumors, usually after very intensive first-line therapy, curative treatment options are scarce. Preclinical drug testing to identify promising treatment options that match the molecular make-up of the tumor is hampered by the facts that i) molecular genetic data on pediatric solid tumors from relapsed patients and thus our understanding of tumor evolution and therapy resistance are very limited to date and ii) for many of the high-risk entities no appropriate and molecularly well characterized patient-derived models and/or genetic mouse models are currently available. Thus, quality-assured upfront preclinical testing of novel molecularly targeted compounds in a (saturated) repertoire of well-characterized models will establish the basis to increase therapeutic successes of these drugs in children with solid malignancies. Since these tumors are overall genetically much less complex than their adult counterparts, it is anticipated that it will be easier to identify powerful predictive biomarkers to allow for accurate matching of targets and drugs.
To address this high, as yet unmet clinical need, we have formed the ITCC-P4 consortium consisting of academic and commercial partners from 8 European countries and covering the full spectrum of qualifications needed for quality-assured preclinical drug development including expertise in patient derived models, histopathology, in vivo pharmacology, bioinformatics and data management, centralized testing capabilities, medical expertise regarding the entities in question, regulatory knowledge, and project management of large consortia. With this consortium in a public-private partnership with the participating pharma companies we strongly believe to be ideally positioned to greatly expedite the development of more precise and efficacious drugs for children with malignant solid tumors
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Funding SchemeIMI2-RIA - Research and Innovation action