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Gene Therapy to restore lymphatic flow lymphedema

Project description

Novel gene therapy approach to treat lymphedema

Lymphedema is a disabling condition of localised accumulation of fluid in a tissue caused by a compromised lymphatic system. It is an incurable disease that affects millions of people worldwide and is most often a consequence of cancer treatment. The main objective of the EU-funded TheraLymph project is to develop treatment to ameliorate this condition using a non-integrative gene therapy approach. The project consortium's translational research programme brings together scientists and physicians from 5 European countries and will be focused on patients who developed lymphedema after breast cancer. Research will determine risk factors for lymphedema and key molecular players involved in the lymphatic dysfunction. The project goal is to validate the best molecule combination for gene therapy and to finalise phase I/II clinical trials at the affiliated hospital.


Lymphedema is a disabling condition induced by the accumulation of fluid and fat in the arm or in the leg. It is an untreatable disease that affects 4 millions people in Europe and more than 120 millions people worldwide. It is handicapping, painful and impacts substantially the quality of life. In western countries, lymphedema is generally a consequence of cancer treatments i.e. ten to fifteen percent of women will develop lymphedema after breast cancer. The main objective of Theralymph will be to establish a non-integrative gene therapy for this unmet medical need.
The theralymph translational research program brings together bench scientists from 5 European countries and physicians from the hosted Rangueil hospital in which the PI institute is located to perform a Phase I/II trial focusing on women who developed lymphedema after breast cancer.
Based on decades of disappointing results of monotherapy-gene delivery in cardiovascular diseases, our approach will be based on multiple gene therapy targeting both superficial lymphatic endothelium and deeper lymphatic collectors. We will identify molecules that possess a synergistic effect with the established lymphangiogenic factor VEGFC.
Theralymph project will determine risk factors for lymphedema and cartography the lymphatic network in the pathology. It will decipher whether lymphatic intrinsic molecules or microenvironmental peptides or lipids are modified in the lymphedematous arm to promote the lymphatic dysfunction. Theralymph will validate the best molecule combination that restores the lymphatic drainage in in preclinical lymphedema models before human study.
The Phase I/II gene therapy clinical trial will be performed in the vascular medicine department of Toulouse’s hospital, where the PI laboratory is located. This trial will use an innovative technology based on recently developed non-integrative lentiflash lentiviral vectors that allow a transient and highly efficient in vivo gene delivery.

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Net EU contribution
€ 1 475 531,25
Rue de tolbiac 101
75654 Paris

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Ile-de-France Ile-de-France Paris
Activity type
Research Organisations
Other funding
€ 0,00

Participants (10)