Chasing the clouds

Immunotherapy - ovarian cancer and colorectal cancer

Project from 2020 Allocated sum in discussion

Commonly, so-called “solid” cancerous tumours are surgically removed. This operation is followed by treatment with chemotherapy(s) and/or radiotherapy in order to eliminate any residual cancer cells.

However, these first-line treatments do not always succeed in eliminating all the malignant cells, particularly because they may develop resistance and/or have already migrated to other organs. The risk of relapse and seeing the cancer spread again is then a real danger for the patient.

Incidence and mortality

In the case of ovarian cancer, there are more than 66,000 new cases each year in Europe and even today, more than 44,000 women still die from it.

Colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer and affects more men than women. Every year in Europe, almost 520,000 people are diagnosed with colorectal cancer and it is the cause of more than 244,000 deaths.

(source: Globocan 2020)

The hope of immunotherapy

Faced with these challenges, immunotherapy is raising new hopes, and the project led by Apmonia Therapeutics in particular.

In order to fulfil different survival functions (e.g. creating blood vessels, activating growth), the genes of a tumour produce proteins. Depending on their nature, these proteins are sometimes located inside or outside the cell. In ovarian and colorectal cancers, TSP-1 proteins are produced in very large quantities and, like a cluster of clouds, they are positioned around the cell.

Our immune system has various soldiers, including T-cells, whose job it is to destroy abnormally functioning cells, such as cancer cells. These soldiers are equipped with antennae (one of which is called CD47) to detect targets for attack.

Lost in the clouds formed by TSP-1 proteins around the tumour, the soldiers cannot go into action.

 

Chasing the clouds

Apmonia Therapeutics has developed an immunotherapeutic treatment that specifically targets these clouds. The product, called TAX2, clings to them and then allows the soldiers’ antennae to function normally, locating and attacking the cancer cells.

 

Karine and Henry

Especially for patients affected by ovarian or colorectal cancer, this immunotherapy represents real hope. In order to personify the very many women concerned, we have chosen to call them “Karine”. And for the men: “Henry”.

 

For all the “Karine” and all the “Henry”, the Foundation has chosen to support a large part of this promising project, by providing in a first phase €375,000 needed to reach a key stage in the development of this future treatment. This will be followed by a second phase of €525,000.

These are the amounts we are seeking to raise from the Venture Philanthropists that you are or will soon be. Help us beat cancer.

 

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