EU projects


Apoptosis systems biology applied to cancer and AIDS

An integrated approach of experimental biology, data mining, mathematical modelling, biostatistics, systems engineering and molecular medicine.

Rolf Lewensohn, PI, Professor


Adaptive and innovative radiation treatment for improving cancer patients treatment outcome.

Rolf Lewensohn, PI, Professor


Cancer Genomics of the Kidney.

CAGEKID website

The International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) has the goal of obtaining a comprehensive description of genomic, transcriptomic and epigenomic changes in 50 different tumour types and/or subtypes, with the aim of elucidating the genomic changes present in the many forms of cancers that contribute to the burden of disease throughout the world. We present a proposal for a European contribution to this effort through application of state-of-the-art approaches to the genomics of the most common form of renal cell cancer (RCC). RCC is of particular importance within Europe where the highest global incidence rates are observed. Disease incidence has increased over the last two decades, and it is now the 8th most common cancer in the EU. CAGEKID brings clinical and epidemiological resources that are unique worldwide together with the necessary genetics and genomics expertise required for this effort. In the first phase of the study, we will provide a full genomic characterization of 100 matched pairs of DNA extracted from the tumour and constitutional samples. DNA will be completely sequenced, and the data brought together with those from whole genome transcript and methylation analyses. Follow-up studies of potential targets will be made in further samples. The results acquired will be relied to targeted protein analyses. The primary data will be made available to the scientific community, and the programme will contribute to establishing norms for the manipulation and storage of biological samples. CAGEKID will provide the first systematic analysis of this tumour site providing new insights into disease aetiology with application for diagnosis and treatment. It addresses a major need to identify new biological markers for renal cell cancer, one of very few tumour types for which there are currently no biological markers in routine clinical use. Renal cancer is not yet supported by any of the members of the ICGC.

Lars Egevad, PI, Professor

Chemo-immune therapy

A translational approach evaluating novel strategies using chemotherapy to enhance immune-mediated anti-tumor activity

A wealth of successful pre-clinical immunotherapy-based treatment protocols against cancer have been documented, yet only a limited number of clinical trials have proven to be successful. A common consensus among clinical and bench-side researchers is that a combination of several treatment modalities should be used to achieve complete tumor regression. In recent years, evidence that chemotherapy agents can be used to enhance immune-based therapies has emerged. The specific aims described below are designed to evaluate novel treatment modalities against cancer using chemotherapy agents that have the ability to sensitize tumors to both innate and adaptive anti-tumor immune responses.

Examine the effect of different chemotherapy agents in their ability to modify tumor susceptibility to autologous and allogeneic natural killer (NK) ant T cell mediated apoptosis in vitro.
In vivo confirmation and evaluation of selected agents in murine syngeneic and allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HCT) tumor models.

In vivo confirmation and evaluation of selected agents in murine syngeneic and allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HCT) tumor models.

Andreas Lundqvist, PI, PhD


Molecular mechanisms underlying chemotherapy resistance, therapeutic escape, efficacy and toxicity

CHEMORES website

Johan Hansson, Coordinator and PI, Professor


European Consortium for Anticancer Antibody Development

EUCAAD website

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in European countries, and one of the most imminent health problems in the developed world. Innovative, so-called targeted therapies are urgently needed that aim specifically at cancer cell or to cells of the stroma that support tumor growth. The ultimate goal of a targeted therapy is to increase anti-tumor efficacy with lowest possible side effects. Rapid and efficient translation of basic scientific advances into reagents, and targeted molecular leads for preclinical and clinical research and development based on scientific rationales and state-of-the-art technologies, optimally requires an interdisciplinary, collaborative, team-oriented approach. EUCAAD represents a virtual research institute in Europe and consists of 9 research participants including 4 SMEs devoted to the discovery and evaluation of new antibodies for therapy of human cancers. The consortium consists of researchers from SMEs and scientific and clinical centres that have gained international acclaim in this area of research, many of who have worked together in previous EU funded applications e.g. ANGIOSTOP, EUCAPS, ESTBAD and ENACT. Within the consortium there is unique expertise regarding target discovery, target validation, antibody production and initiation of clinical trials. As part of its efforts to translate laboratory research into viable cancer therapies the individual partners has accumulated an extensive portfolio of intellectual property providing a competitive edge to this application. The focus of the grant is the development and evaluation of antibodies against new target structures on tumor cells and blood vessels supplying tumors which are responsible for tumor angiogenesis, progression and metastasis. Collectively, the activities of this consortium can improve the cancer treatment standards in Europe and provide economic benefit to European biotechnology and pharmaceutical research by providing novel immunepharmaceuticals.

Lars Holmgren, Coordinator, Professor

Karen Wild, PhD, Project manager


Targeting IGF-1 receptor in liver cancer with focus on its mechanistic role in transcription and its interaction with the cell cycle machinery

IGF1RHC website

The insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor (IGF-1R) is a cell surface receptor kinase being vastly expressed in malignant tissues and plays crucial roles in growth and survival of cancer cells. Targeting IGF-1R is pharmaceutically today a very attractive concept. Larsson´s group at KI has contributed extensively to the current knowledge about IGF-1R and demonstrated that the cyclolignan PPP inhibits IGF-1R signaling. An oral IGF-1R inhibitor of cyclolignan chemistry is presently studied in patients with advanced cancer. Recently, they found that IGF-1R is SUMOylated, translocated to the nucleus, where it affects transcription. This is a novel and original function for IGF-1R and one of the goals of this proposal is to further study whether it is limited to tumor cells. In such case, these findings will be a breakthrough and the foundation for further development of specific therapeutic targeting of cancer. Here we aim to study two mechanistic aspects of IGF-1R: (1) its role as a transcription factor in tumor cells, (2) its interaction with the cell cycle machinery, as ultimate regulators of cell division. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) was chosen as it has a very poor prognosis and a high mortality due to absence of efficient treatments. It is one of Egypt´s national health priorities and its incidence is increasing in Europe. Three experimental models will be used: HCC cell lines in which SUMOylation, nuclear translocation of IGF-1R and, Which genes it transcriptionally activates will be studied, We will induce HCC in knockout mice lacking Cdk2 and p27, generated by Aleem to study how IGF-1R interacts with loss of these cell cycle proteins, and how its inhibition by PPP affects development and progression of HCC. Mouse Embryo Fibroblasts isolated from these mice will also be used for cell cycle analysis. We anticipate that IGF-1R modulates transcription of genes relevant to tumor growth leading to development of more specific therapeutic tools against cancer.

Olle Larsson, PI, Professor


A European platform for translational cancer research

EurocanPlatform website

Europe has a number of advantages as regards developing translational cancer research, yet there is no clear European strategy to meet the increasing burden posed by cancer.

The FP6 Eurocan+Plus project analysed the barriers underlying the increasing fragmentation of cancer research and stressed the need to improve collaboration between basic/preclinical and comprehensive cancer centres (CCCs), institutions in which care and prevention is integrated with research and education. Furthermore, it proposed the creation of a platform of interlinked cancer centres with shared infrastructures and collaborative projects to facilitate rapid advances in knowledge, and their translation into better cancer care.

In response to these challenges and in line with the call, EurocanPlatform will work towards the goal of decreasing cancer mortality by dealing with three main areas of strategic research: prevention, early detection and improved treatments. It will build the necessary resources and know-how for the entire research continuum: basic research, early and late translational research, clinical research, epidemiological research, implementation in care and population based outcome research. There will be a strong focus on discovery-driven translational cancer research in five selected tumours: breast, head-neck, lung, malignant melanoma and pancreatic cancer. Joint structures and programmes for early detection will contribute to optimal treatment, and novel prevention research programmes will integrate prevention activities in clinical cancer centres as well as public prevention. Collaborations will also include molecular pathway-driven clinical research supported by joint structures for omics, biobanking and biomarker validation to support clinical trials aimed at enhancing patient benefits by individualised treatments.

EurocanPlatform is unique in its nature and represents a commitment from cancer centres to join forces and resources in order to fight cancer.

Ulrik Ringborg, Coordinator and PI, Professor

Christina von Gertten, PhD, Project Manager


Genome-based biomarkers leading to validated molecular diagnostic tests for response prediction in breast cancer.

Responsify website

Aims: Individualisation of cancer therapy based on standardised biomarker assays is one of the most demanding challenges in cancer medicine. In the RESPONSIFY consortium, we will integrate information on response prediction from different breast cancer types and methodologies into biomarker tests for targeted therapies in the clinical routine setting. Those tests will be developed for commercialisation using the expertise of the involved SMEs and industrial partners. Material and methods: Patients included in large randomised neoadjuvant trials investigating the efficacy of anti-HER2 compounds, as well as, bevacizumab will be used for the project. Different genome based strategies including new molecular techniques such as genome wide next generation sequencing, epigenetics, gene and exon expression analysis, kinome arrays and quantitative PCR using FFPE tissue will be used. A clearly defined marker finding-training-validation-approach will be the way to reach a high level of evidence for commercial diagnostic tests. The established therapy stratification criteria will be further validated within clinical trials using the expertise of the clinical study groups. The clinical study group will develop a web-based data integration and processing system to standardise integration of clinical trial data and biomarker results in one system which will be further used for clinical biomarker driven trials. Health economic characteristics of combined testing and treatment strategies will be determined to inform decision makers, using state-of-the-art cost-utility analysis. Importance: Optimising the use of current therapy options and avoiding treatments patients will predictably not respond to, may improve cost-utility parameters to levels acceptable for most health systems.

Participant list

Partic. No. Name of principal investigator Participant legal name - Acronym Country Organisation type
1 PD Dr. Sibylle Loibl German Breast Group; GBG Forschungs GmbH -GBG D SME
2 PD Dr. Ralf Kronenwett Sividon Diagnostics GmbH D SME
3 Pascale Beurdeley-Fehlbaum ExonHit Therapeutics SA F SME
4 Jean François Laes DNAVision SA B SME
5 Prof. Charles Swanton Cancer Research UK London Research Institute  CR-UK UK University
6 Prof. Carsten Denkert Charité University Hospital Institute of Pathology - CHARITE D University
7 Dr. Petra Zalud tp21 GmbH  tp21 CH SME
8 Prof. Christos Sotiriou Institute Jules Bordet  IJB B University
9 Prof. Fabrice André Institute de cancérology Gustave Roussy - IGR F University
10 PD Dr. Mathias Schwenkglenks University of Basel, Institute of Pharmaceutical Medicine  ECPM CH University
11 Dr. Barbro Linderholm Karolinska Institutet S University
12 Dr. Stefan Scherer F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG CH Industry


Sponge enzymes and cells for Innovative applications.

SPECIAL website

Rolf Lewensohn, PI, Professor


Union of Light-Ion Centres in Europe.

ULICE website

ULICE is a 4-year project set up by 20 leading European research organisations, including 2 leading European industrial partners (Siemens and IBA), to respond to the need for greater access to hadron-therapy facilities for particle therapy research. Project coordinator is the Italian Research Infrastructure Facility CNAO (Milan).

Both existing European Hadron Research Facilities in Heidelberg and Milan are partners and they will provide 691 hours of beam-time (146 users, 58 projects) to external researchers. Future facilities like MedAustron, Etoile and Archade also participate in ULICE, which will result in a strong integrated network.

Full exploitation of all different resources, unrestricted spread of information and the improvement of existing and upcoming facilities are provided by using grid-based data sharing.

Anders Brahme, PI, Professor