SCANDARE: one step further in precision medicine
New knowledge about the genome and immunology of cancer have brought new therapeutic approaches. Certain molecular characteristics are essential for predicting the efficiency of targeted therapies. In the field of immunotherapy, precision medicine is in its infancy since we are not yet able to predict ahead of time which 20% of patients will respond to these treatments. “The time has come for precision medicine in oncology,” explains Professor Christophe Le Tourneau, responsible for early trials at Institut Curie. “Today, precision medicine is based mainly on a molecular diagnosis of tumors, although the incorporation of immunological parameters is essential. We believe that by incorporating genomic and immunological parameters we will be better equipped to predict which patients will respond to targeted therapies or immunotherapy, or even chemotherapy and radiotherapy.”
The SCANDARE study, led by Christophe Le Tourneau, Emanuela Romano and Maud Kamal, was designed with this purpose in mind. It satisfies two priorities of the medical-scientific program at Institut Curie, namely precision medicine and immunotherapy for cancer.
SCANDARE: a database for certain tumors
Until now, precision medicine was focused mainly on gene alterations for the choice of therapeutic strategies. With SCANDARE, specialists at Institut Curie wish to include new dimensions, namely the tumor environment and the immunological response. Indeed an increasing number of studies show the impact of these two factors on the development of the tumor and the response to treatment, for both targeted therapies and immunotherapy. Tumor cells are not isolated within the organism. They interact with their neighbors - fibroblasts, immune cells, etc. - which has an impact on its extension and response to treatment.
“Within the SCANDARE project, we plan to study the links between the genomic characteristics of the tumor, its microenvironment and the immunological parameters,” explains the physician-scientist. First, we are going to analyze these parameters using samples from patients treated by surgery, with or without neo-adjuvant chemotherapy, for triple negative cancer of the breast, ovary, head and neck.”
The SCANDARE project has several objectives…
- To establish the make-up of the tumor’s microenvironment and communication between the various cells before and after treatments
- To decipher the connections between the tumor’s molecular profile, the microenvironment and the immune cells
- To analyze the impact of the microenvironment’s parameters on the response and sensitivity to treatment
- To establish the links between the spatial and temporal heterogeneity of the tumors and the activation of the immune system
- To assess the predictive value of circulating biomarkers on the sensitivity or resistance of tumors
With SCANDARE, Institut Curie is going one step further in precision medicine. Immunological biomarkers or biomarkers related to the tumor environment will eventually be added to the genomic data to describe the tumor, and even choose the therapeutic strategies. SCANDARE has received significant backing from the SIRIC.