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The Luxembourgish non-profit association Plooschter Projet renewed its financial commitment to the TSI group of the LIH Department of Oncology (DONC) in support of its research on the detailed characterisation of the identity and features of cells from the tumour microenvironment in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.
For the third consecutive time, on the occasion of the general assembly that took place on Saturday 20th of February 2021 in Sanem, the Plooschter Projet reaffirmed its wish to support leukemia research in Luxembourg and made a generous donation of EUR 40,000 to the Tumour Stroma Interactions (TSI) group. This grant follows two previous donations by Plooschter Projet to the TSI group in 2020 and 2019, amounting to EUR 30,000 and EUR 18,000, respectively.
The research group, led by Dr Etienne Moussay and Dr Jérôme Paggetti, investigates the mechanisms that promote cancer progression. The researchers work in particular on chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL), the most common form of leukaemia characterised by the accumulation of abnormal B cells in the lymph nodes, blood and spleen. CLL cells make the surrounding cellular environment immunosuppressive to ensure their survival and proliferation. In such a microenvironment, effector T cells are no longer capable of mounting a potent immune response, while regulatory T cells reinforce the immune inhibitory effect.
The goal of the specific project supported by Plooschter Projet is to accurately characterise the cellular microenvironment of the lymph nodes of CLL patients. This should be achieved by combining a high-throughput imaging technique know as Imaging Mass Cytometry (IMC, Hyperion) of lymph node tissue with CyTOF analysis (Helios) of T cells, in collaboration with Sorbonne University (Paris, France). A better understanding of cellular localisation and of the way their functions are subverted by tumour immune escape mechanisms will provide hints as to potential targets for new innovative immunotherapies.
Plooschter Projet (Plaster Project in Luxembourgish) is an initiative launched by the Luxembourg triathlete Yannick Lieners who was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia at the age of 25. Through his association, Mr Lieners actively helps cancer patients by supporting national cancer foundations and research institutes and creating awareness among the general population on stem cell donation to treat leukaemia. Thanks to the intense information campaign conducted by Plooschter Projet over the last few years, the number of people from Luxembourg registered as stem cell donors has significantly increased.