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DC-based immunotherapy to treat Malignant Mesothelioma


Asbestos is one of the major occupational carcinogens. The European Union has an extensive history of protecting workers and consumers against asbestos and even adopted a resolution 2012/2065(INI) ‘on asbestos related occupational health threats and prospects for abolishing all existing asbestos’ last year. Although asbestos is banned, it is still massively present in the built environment. Millions of workers & consumers in the EU were, and still are, for many years exposed to asbestos fibres, despite all measures.

Inhalation of even very low quantities of asbestos fibres tremendously increases the risk of developing Malignant Mesothelioma (MM). The IARC reported 8.100 MM deaths in 2010 in the EU. Despite all EU actions, MM incidence is still increasing. MM is a highly fatal disease with a poor median survival time from first signs of illness to death around 12 months despite aggressive treatments. To date there is no curative therapy for MM. MM is considered as an extremely therapy-resistant disease. Chemotherapy consisting of a combination of pemetrexed and cisplatin is considered standard of care with a median survival increase of 3 months (9-12 months).

The department of pulmonary diseases of the Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, in collaboration with international partners, have developed a promising personalised immunotherapy for MM with very limited adverse effects. The first clinical results show a considerably prolonged average survival with limited adverse events (24 months, twice as long).

The EMA and the FDA granted this therapy Orphan Designation: autologous dendritic cells pulsed with allogeneic tumour cell lysate for the treatment of malignant mesothelioma (EU: 16 January 2014 - EU/3/13/1229; FDA – US: 06 May 2014).

The objective for the project is to deliver the scientific & registration package for market approval by the EMA of a novel immuno therapeutic approach to treat MM. This includes the execution of a phase II/III clinical trial.

Call for proposal


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Sub call




Net EU contribution
€ 2 375 146,94
Dr molewaterplein 40
3015 GD Rotterdam

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West-Nederland Zuid-Holland Groot-Rijnmond
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 0,00

Participants (8)