Wings to empower immunotherapy

This project was selected in the framework of our European call: FIGHT KIDS CANCER 2020.

Osteosarcoma is a very challenging paediatric tumours in oncology. It is the most common bone cancer in children, adolescents and young adults (10 to 14%). In the last 30 years, there have been no improvements in treatment despite a survival rate of 20% in those children who develop metastasis.

Immunotherapy is a treatment that attempts to strengthen the natural ability of the immune system to fight cancer.

Also described as “living drugs”, white blood cells (immune effector cells) will be isolated and genetically manipulated to express a specific receptor against the tumour cells. These receptors allow white blood cells to recognise tumour cells and destroy them.

In other words, tumour cells that could stay inside a patient’s body “incognito”, like any other healthy cell, will now be identified by the white blood cells as harmful cells that must be eliminated.

These therapies have led to spectacular results in blood cancer, both for paediatric and adult patients who had no more other treatment options.

However, to this day, it has not been possible to replicate this success in patients with solid tumours like osteosarcomas. This is mainly due to the barrier posed by the hostile microenvironment surrounding the tumour. This barrier prevents the migration of white blood cells and diminishes their capacity to fight a tumour.

The “IMAGINE” project aims at overcoming this barrier in paediatric osteosarcoma using an innovative, inexpensive, non-invasive and easy to implement approach.

White blood cells will be loaded with magnetic nanoparticles that can be guided to the tumour through a magnetic field. With such magnetic wings, the therapeutic efficacy of those cells will be considerably enhanced!

This approach not only will increase the concentration of white blood cells at the tumour site but will minimise toxicities on healthy tissues which is one of the main concerns with current therapies (chemotherapy). If the IMAGINE project’s results are conclusive, the next step will consist in the opening of an early phase clinical trial to test this technology in order to increase in the survival rates and quality of life of young patients with osteosarcoma.

This project aims at identifying new treatment options for children with an osteosarcoma. As a result, the project will benefit all children (Belgian, European and beyond!) if the study’s conclusions are encouraging.

Wings to empower immunotherapy

  • Financed: 500 000€
    More than 85% of your donations go to financing research and supporting our advocacy work, less than 15% go to administration.
  • Duration: 2 year
  • Countries: Spain, France & Norway
  • Disease: Osteosarcoma
  • Status: To be started