Liquid biopsies

This project was selected thanks to a partnership with ITCC through an open call for projects. Nine European projects applied and were reviewed by four American renowned experts. KickCancer chose the two best projects, including this one.

For children with rhabdomyosarcoma, assessing response to treatment and whether they remain in remission requires regular imaging such as MRI. In some types of cancer, but not rhabdomyosarcoma, it has been shown to be clinically useful to assess abnormal DNA released from a cancer into the blood stream. 

This technique is referred to as “liquid biopsy” and aims at finding cancerous cells in the blood, as opposed to removal done through a surgical procedure.

This study is led by the Institute of Cancer Research (London, United Kingdom) and combines expertise with a limited number of blood samples already collected from rhabdomyosarcoma patients in different laboratories across Europe and will compare those samples to the clinical data of each concerned patient.

This project is testing to detect rhabdomyosarcoma-specific DNA in blood and to correlate the amounts of this over time with how patients had responded to their treatment. Success could pave the way to incorporate testing blood from rhabdomyosarcoma patients into the upcoming European paediatric Soft tissue sarcoma Study Group http://www.epssgassociation.it (EpSSG) clinical trial.

This project is a wonderful example of intra-European collboaration as it will involve laboratories from the following countries: France, UK, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

Ultimately this project can lead to the demonstration that a blood test may replace at least some of the imaging used to monitor rhabdomyosarcoma patients.

Status update: both projects started in October 2018 and will last 12 months. The final activity report will be issued in December 2019.

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