MICCHADO: the trial that can change the outlook for high-risk pediatric cancers
Each year some 2,500 children and adolescents are diagnosed with cancer. Happily, three-quarters of them make a recovery. But some forms of so-called “high-risk” cancers are harder to treat: relapses are frequent and cancerous cells can develop resistance to treatment.
In order to better combat these aggressive cancers, we need to understand how they work. This requires an in-depth study of cancerous cells. Their biological characteristics must be studied and interactions between the tumor and the patient must be analyzed. Dr. Gudrun Schleiermacher, head of the pediatric oncology translational research team is doing just that:“The Micchado study aims to improve understanding of oncogenesis and of the mechanisms of tumor growth. This requires us to perform a molecular analysis of the cancerous cells.” The study will look for presence of circulating tumor DNA in the blood or other elements in the body. Researchers will try to determine the links between these molecular and immunological characteristics and the aggressiveness of the tumor. “This assessment during patient monitoring has never been practiced before in pediatrics,” explains Dr. Schleiermacher.
The ultimate goal is to more precisely target patients whose cancer is likely to become resistant, in order to adapt treatments accordingly and thus win the race against time with the disease.
As a specialist in treating children with cancer for over 40 years, Institut Curie is promoting this study. The analyses will be performed on three platforms, based at Institut Curie, at Gustave Roussy (Villejuif) and at the Léon-Bérard center in Lyon.
The MICCHADO study receives major backing from the Imagine for Margo - Children without cancer association, which is providing 1.2 million euros in financing. The goal of the association is to finance specific European research programs aimed at finding innovative and more effective treatments against childhood and adolescent cancers. And also to motivate public authorities to speed up the pace of pediatric research.
The Hubert-Gouin association is committed to the fight against childhood cancer and also supports this ambitious project. It is joined by KickCancer, a Belgian foundation whose goal is to support clinical and basic research on pediatric cancers.
Thanks to the generosity of these three associations, the MICCHADO study was launched. This is a valued and vital assistance for Institut Curie and for young patients.
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