Dr. Anna-Lisa Böttcher
Project management - Research
German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ)
Div. Pediatric Neurooncology / B062
Im Neuenheimer Feld 580
About 25 percent of pediatric cancer patients relapse despite intensive first-line therapy. If this happens, possibilities for further treatment are very limited. Then possibilities for further treatment are very limited. So far, the search for new therapeutic options for children, which were not cured by established treatment methods, has, been difficult. The molecular genetic data for tumor development and therapy resistance are limited, and there are no model organisms for the preclinical testing of novel molecularly targeted drugs for many cancers and subtypes.
The international ITCC-P4 (Innovative Therapies for Children with Cancer Pediatric Preclinical Proof-of-Concept Platform) project, which started in 2017 and is coordinated by DKFZ researchers at KiTZ Heidelberg and the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, now aims to change that. ITCC-P4 will be funded with more than 16 million Euro over five years as an Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) in the form of a public-private partnership, half funded by the EU (Horizon 2020) and half by the participating companies.
The overall goal of the initiative is to accelerate the development of new drugs for children with cancer and to develop new biomarkers. The tumor models which are being developed as part of the ITCC P4 initiative in the participating academic research centers will later be made available for the construction of a comprehensive and sustainable platform in order to enable further drug tests in the future. It is expected that patient-specific tumor models will be better able to produce more significant clinical trial preparation results than is currently possible with the usual tests on cancer cells in the culture dish or on genetically uniform mouse strains.
ITCC-P4 encompasses all the key steps needed to establish a sustainable, comprehensive, preclinical pediatric testing platform based on genetic information from more than 360 patient samples. The illustration summarizes the approach of the project.
Building a representative collection of approximately 400 patient in vitro and in vivo models as well as genetic mouse models of the most common pediatric solid high risk entities - with a significant share of recurrence models.
In the long-term, the establishment of the ITCC P4 platform will ultimately fill a long-standing gap by enabling in-depth molecular characterization of high-risk pediatric malignancies coupled with standardized preclinical testing, thereby accelerating the development of more accurate and efficient drugs for this population. Developing this platform as a public-private partnership will create a collaborative model that can hopefully be extended to other types of cancer entities and patient populations.
Many of the most renowned European research facilites contribute to the ITCC-P4 consortium: