Fournier-Majoie Foundation to invest heavily in colorectal cancer projects

Posted on 05-09-2013

Fournier-Majoie Foundation has extended its funding to two projects of its laureates: Prof. Max Mazzone (VIB) to develop  Monomark colorectal cancer test and Prof. Sabine Tejpar (KU. Leuven) to perform the most comprehensive miRNA analysis ever on one of the best document colorectal cancer populations available today.

Fournier-Majoie Foundation to extend its funding to Prof Mazzone’s Monomark colorectal cancer test.

Prof Max Mazzone

Over the past 2.5 years, the collaboration between  VIB (Prof Max Mazzone),  UZ Leuven (Prof Hans Prenen) and Fournier-Majoie Foundation has resulted in a test that is able to diagnose colorectal cancer at very early stages and that can be used for disease follow-up and relapse monitoring.

The Monomark test, based on gene expression in monocytes has been clinically validated in a multicentre trial (including 4 European centres/256 individuals).  It outperforms existing assays it terms of their sensitivity and specificity. Results will be published soon. Given the intrinsic nature of monocytes (highly versatile white blood cells), the expression levels of the biomarkers constituting the test revert back to normal in patients upon curative treatment. Conversely, the test does not lose specificity and sensitivity in patients with metachronous metastasis (metastatic relapse after primary tumour resection).
 
This project will now receive an additional  €102.000 to proof feasibility  of a one-step monocyte isolation procedure;  to assess Monomark in patients with hyperplastic/premalignant polyps and to assess the development of a test that does not require standard curves for minimal disease detection and recurrence follow-up.
Total budget allocated to this project by Fournier-Majoie foundation is now € 447.000.  

The Foundation has extended its support to the project of Prof. Sabine Tejpar, KULeuven.
This will allow the team to perform the most comprehensive miRNA analysis ever on one of the best documented colorectal cancer populations available today.

Prof. Sabine Tejpar

The generation of a miRNA-based map of colorectal cancer allows to relate them to and finetune mRNA-expression based subtypes recently announced, and  potentially to translate them into blood-based diagnostics.
While all prognostic signatures for the detection of colon cancer recurrence are presently based on mRNA expression (Veridex, Coloprint, Oncotype Dx), our extra funding promises to enhance Prof. Tejpar’s current, preliminary miRNA signature which already outperforms these existing mRNA-based assays.
The further investment will also allow for the generation of miRNA-based predictive assays based on miRNA subtypes that are suitable for companion diagnostics development conducted in collaboration with pharma companies developing new colon cancer treatments. This work should lead to more targeted, and accurate colon cancer treatments.

This project will now receive an additional  €131.000. Total budget allocated to this project by Fournier-Majoie foundation is now € 581.000.