The European commission has given the suppresSTEM consortium a green light to develop and validate new treatments against colorectal cancer, one of the most frequent causes of cancer mortality worldwide. The suppresSTEM consortium has two main objectives, developing therapeutic antibodies that effectively target and eliminate chemotherapy-resistant cancer stem cells as well as establishing and validating a drug screening platform based on patient derived tumor tissue. The consortium received a 6-million euro funding package from the 7th Framework Programme (FP7) of the European Union.
The suppresSTEM consortium consists of five participants; Merus B.V. as the coordinator (The Netherlands), The Hubrecht Institute/ The HUB foundation for organoids (The Netherlands), OcellO B.V. (The Netherlands), Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona, Spain) and The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute (UK).
From June 2013 until 2016, suppresSTEM will develop therapeutic approaches that address important resistance mechanisms exploited by tumor cells to overcome different treatments, a problem that has led to the failure of many therapies in the past. Furthermore, the consortium will be a pioneer in the use of patients’ tissue for drug development and screening. Using this screening technology will permit far greater accuracy in predicting which treatment/drug will be beneficial to which patient and reduce the need for animal use in drug development in line with European directives. In addition, once this technique has been fine-tuned, it will be applicable for other types of cancer as well.