The Cancer Foundation (Fondation Cancer) funds a research project of the NorLux Neuro-Oncology Laboratory at LIH’s Department of Oncology. It aims at unravelling the mechanisms underlying cancer cell invasion in glioma, a very aggressive form of brain tumour, and at proposing new therapeutic strategies to block tumour progression.
On 28th February 2018, Dr Carlo Bock and Lucienne Thommes, President and Director of the Cancer Foundation respectively, handed over a check of 286,043 Euros to Prof Simone Niclou, Head of the NorLux Neuro-Oncology Laboratory, in the presence of Dr Ulf Nehrbass, CEO of LIH. The project, which is based on promising results from previous research, will be led by postdoctoral researcher Dr Anne Schuster whose work is supported by the Cancer Foundation since 2014.
Gliomas or glioblastomas are malignant tumours that can occur at any age and for which the standard cancer treatment is often not sufficient. The tumour can affect different brain regions and causes large lesions. It has the ability to penetrate deeply into brain tissue. Its invasive nature prevents complete surgical resection. Current treatments mainly target dividing tumour cells, but to be truly effective, they should be combined with therapies blocking the invasive process. To develop such strategies it is important to better understand the underlying molecular mechanisms of tumour invasion.
A major discovery by the NorLux Neuro-Oncology Laboratory has been the identification of a gene involved in the invasive behaviour of glioma cells. Knowing this gene will help to unravel the intracellular signalling pathways that drive tumour invasion. In a next step, Dr Anne Schuster aims to analyse databases containing a wide range of already commercialised drugs known to affect specific signalling pathways to identify a treatment potentially effective against tumour invasiveness. Promising drug candidates could then be tested in pre-clinical studies and later in clinical trials to evaluate whether they can be approved for patients. Thus, new applications could be found for existing drugs to be used in combination with radio- and chemotherapy to significantly improve disease outcome.
Watch a Facebook video of the Cancer Foundation in which Prof Simone Niclou explains the research project
A related press release of the Cancer Foundation is also available in French and German.
From left to right: Lucienne Thommes (Director of the Cancer Foundation), Dr Ulf Nehrbass (CEO of LIH), Prof Simone Niclou (Head of the NorLux Neuro-Oncology Laboratory, Department of Oncology, LIH) and Dr Carlo Bock (President of the Cancer Foundation)