VHIO can and will only deliver on its goal of accelerating the pace in advancing personalized and targeted therapies against cancer thanks to the public funding it receives, as well as through the generous support from private institutions, companies and individuals. Furthermore, and as a direct reflection of VHIO’s research of excellence, VHIO continues to secure essential funding through several International and National Competitive Grants.
Only with such continued support will the clock continue to tick in our favor – against cancer. VHIO would therefore like to express its immense gratitude to its following supporters, funding entities and agencies:
As a reflection of VHIO’s expertise in preclinical, translational and clinical research in oncology, it participated in the following Consortia of excellence:
Cancer Core Europe
Cancer Core Europe is a unique partnership aimed at addressing the cancer carecancer research continuum. Launched in the Autumn of 2014, this working consortium represents a critical mass of activity for the successful integration of all cancer care information, clinical research and outcome research, led by the six founding partners and European comprehensive cancer centers of excellence: the Gustave Roussy Cancer Campus Grand Paris (Villejuif, France), Cambridge Cancer Centre (Cambridge, UK), Karolinska Institute (Stockholm, Sweden), Netherlands Cancer Institute – NKI (Amsterdam, The Netherlands), National Center for Tumor Diseases – DKFZ-NCT (Heidelberg, Germany), and VHIO. The Cancer Core Europe’s pooling and exchange of expertise, research findings, common platforms and processes, will empower researchers and clinicians to rapidly exploit this trove of biological insights and clinical data for the benefit of patients.
The EuroPDX Consortium – Translating Knowledge in Oncology, launched in 2013 with the common goal of creating a network of clinically relevant models of human cancer, and in particular patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models. Connecting 17 cancer centers across 12 countries that are developing PDX cancer models, this initiative promotes the sharing and exchange of findings on promising therapeutics as well as leads multicenter preclinical studies. EuroPDX strives to reduce the duplication of efforts in oncology drug development and ultimately improve the quality of life and overall survival of cancer patients.
Initiated in 2016, INTRACOLOR (Evolution of resistant clones to novel target-directed drugs in colorectal tumors: a genetic and epigenetic study of intratumoural heterogeneity dynamics), is supported by EU Horizon 2020 funding and led by VHIO. Running in parallel with the Phase I/II MoTriColor trials, it incorporates six of MoTriColor’s to assesses three novel targeted therapies for mCRC, each matched to distinctive gene expression signatures.
Representing a comprehensive framework for translational research, emerging molecular data is prospectively integrated in preclinical models and proof-of-concept clinical trials in mCRC. This project is carried out in collaboration with SPECTAcolor – Screening Platform for Efficient Clinical Trials Access in Colorectal Cancer, which is an initiative of the EORTC, supported by Alliance Boots.
Launched in 2015, MedBioinformatics is a project supported by Horizon 2020’s European Union funding for Research and Innovation. Through the development of integrative bioinformatics tools and software applications useful and autonomously usable by translational scientists and clinical practitioners for analysing the huge amount of data and knowledge generated in healthcare and biomedical research, the project will ultimately facilitate translational research and precision medicine. Incorporating 13 groups from nine renowned research entities of excellence, including VHIO, this Consortium will strive to address the deficit of integrative approaches that effectively combine different types of data from different sources as well as actively involve end-users that are not experts in bioinformatics in the design of the applications.
The MErCuRIC Consortium
Announced in 2013, The MErCuRIC Consortium, funded by the European Commission’s 7th Framework Programme of Research and Development, incorporates 13 partners in eight different European countries to lead and pioneer a multicentre phase Ib/II clinical trial. This study evaluates a novel therapeutic strategy aimed at combating metastasis, improving survival and developing new approaches to treat patients with colorectal cancer.
Spurred by Horizon 2020’s European Union funding for Research and Innovation funding, MoTriColor (Molecularly guided Trials with specific treatment strategies in patients with advanced newly molecular defined subtypes of Colorectal cancer), led by VHIO, is powered by a total of eight clinical research centers of excellence, spanning Spain, Italy, The Netherlands and Belgium, as well as a European organization in cancer research and a diagnostic/prognostic SME. Dedicated to conducting multi-center early phase clinical trials to establish the anti-tumor activity of novel experimental therapies for patients with metastatic or advanced colorectal cancer, patients will be stratified based on their gene expression profiles according to recently established predictive signatures.
This pioneering approach aims at identifying sensitivity of individual patients to the proposed experimental therapies towards ultimately developing more precise anti-cancer therapies for these patients.
Funded through a grant received from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, the NoCanTher – Nanomedicine upscaling for early clinical phases of multimodal cancer therapy is a multi-center – Consortium is led by IMDEA Nanoscience and represents an important forward step in utilizing nanoparticles than can better target and more precisely combat cancer cells. It builds on the preclinical successes reported by the former FP7-funded MultiFun Consortium that evidenced the efficacy of a multi-modal therapeutic approach based on functionalized magnetic nanoparticles and magnetic hyperthermia for the intra-tumoral treatment of breast and pancreatic tumors.
NoCanTher will assess this nano-based approach and provide preliminary data on its efficacy in humans and aim to translate these preclinical findings into early clinical development for the treatment of pancreatic cancer.
PhD PI3K biology in health & disease Network
The PhD PI3K biology in health & disease Network incorporates ten academic, clinical and industrial partners with renowned expertise in research focused on PI3K signaling. Leading a unique training network, this collaboration connects complementary expertise and brings additional value, novel tools and leadership of excellence in order to train talented early stage researchers and suitably equip them for leading roles in cancer science and drug discovery in European industry and academia.
This research training programe not only represents unparalleled educational opportunity for these young scientists, but also aims to increase the international competitiveness of European research in PI3K discovery and drug development.
RATHER – Rational Therapy for Breast Cancer
RATHER – Rational Therapy for Breast Cancer, is funded by the European Commission’s 7th Framework Programme of Research and Development. Representing an important step in delivering on precision oncology by developing tailored therapies using a rational approach, this project will focus on two specific difficult-to-treat subtypes of breast cancer. Involving the combined efforts of six research institutions and two biomedical companies this is a five-year project that commenced in January 2011.
Incorporating a network of 27 research entities spanning 10 countries, SPECTAcolor -Screening Platform for Efficient Clinical Trials Access in Colorectal cancer, is an initiative within the framework of the research program of the EORTC, supported by Alliance Boots. Launched in 2013, this is the first prospective fully annotated tumor samples Biobank and Biomarker analysis platform for genetic profiling of patients suffering from advanced colorectal cancer.
WIN – Worldwide Innovative Networking in personalized cancer medicine
WIN – Worldwide Innovative Networking in personalized cancer medicine, initiated by the Institut Gustave Roussy (France) and The University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center (USA) is a non profit, non-governmental organization incorporating 22 cancer centers and industry partners from five continents to address the challenge of increasing the efficacy of cancer diagnostics and therapeutics. Promoted within the scope of this Consortium, WINTHER (WINTherapeutics) is a unique academic and international clinical trial (launched in 2012), aimed at better predicting drug sensitivity and optimizing individualized therapeutic decisions with improved clinical outcome for patients.
NEW CONSORTIA (launched in 2018)
COLOSSUS–Advancing a Precision Medicine Paradigm in metastatic Colorectal Cancer: Systems based patient stratification solutions, is a multi-center European Commission Horizon 2020-supported project powered by 14 leading clinical investigators and researchers spanning 8 European countries, with expertise in cancer immunology, systems biology, computational modelling, bioinformatics, omics analysis, clinical oncology/pathology, preclinical research, medical imaging, clinical trials, health economics and patient management.
This 5-year undertaking aims at better classifying and treating metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC).
Focused on microsatellite stable RAS mutant (MSS RAS mt) disease–a genetically identified type of CRC with very few therapeutic options available once patients develop resistance to existing chemotherapies, the COLOSSUS team will strive to both expand and refine the classification of this particular subset of colorectal cancer.
MESI-STRAT combines the expertise of 14 partners from 6 European countries to establish the interplay of breast cancer metabolism and oncogenic signaling (Metabolic Signaling) by systems medicine approaches. Aimed at developing new models for knowledge-based STRATification of patients into subgroups with different endocrine therapy resistance mechanisms, this pan-European 57-month project , supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, represents an important forward step towards improving outcomes for these patients.
The team will pioneer breast cancer metabolism as a novel approach for the stratification of patients, tracking of resistance and better guiding clinical decision-making throughout the course of endocrine therapy. Through the development of new computational models in combination with network analyses, pharmacogenomics and integrated multi-omics data, MESI-STRAT will play a decisive role in better deciphering the metabolic and signaling networks that drive resistance to endocrine-based therapies.
Announced in November, one of the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DoD) Innovative Minds in Prostate Cancer (IMPaCT) Awards will fund a three- year collaborative partnership to advance precision medicine against metastatic prostate cancer (mPC). This coalition will count on the multidisciplinary expertise of investigators at VHIO, the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre–CNIO (Madrid, Spain), and the University of Washington (USA).
Aimed at more precisely gauging response in patients to standard therapies, the team will also seek to develop new, more effective and tailored treatment strategies, as well as design aclinical trial to assess the performance of a DNA damaging platinum chemotherapy, carboplatin, that is already used to treat other tumor types including ovarian and breast cancer.
The AstraZeneca VHIO Alliance announced in 2015, and the MedImmune VHIO Alliance launched in 2018, drive advancements at preclinical, clinical and translational research levels across the AstraZeneca’s oncology portfolio. Combining VHIO’s strengths in promoting cancer discovery through the integration of translational science and clinical research with AstraZeneca’s promising early stage oncology pipeline, the alliance focuses on areas including DNA damage repair, drug resistance, new drug combinations and molecular profiles for patient selection.
Bookmark and visit VHIO’s website for forthcoming updates: www.vhio.net
The CIBOT Consorcio de Investigación Biomédica y Oncología Traslacional (Consortium for Biomedical and Translational Research in Oncology), is a scientific program established in collaboration with Novartis in 2013. This initiative defines and develops research aimed at: determining the etiopathogenic mechanisms of cancer as well as developing novel diagnostic and therapeutic tools; investigating the therapeutic potential of new antineoplastic agents; and applying cutting-edge technologies and latest data to advance cancer research.
Specific areas of interest include the effects of HER-2 amplification pattern and prior Herceptin/TDM-1 therapy on HER-2 expression, the therapeutic inhibition of the oncogenic Wnt/beta-catenin pathway, and targeting wild type c-KIT combination with PI3K pathway inhibition in basal-like PDXs.
Launched by Roche in 2016, the imCORE – immunotherapy Centres of Research Excellence Network – a 21-strong academic powerhouse set to progress discovery in cancer immunotherapy, brings together internationally renowned scientific and clinical experts in cancer immunotherapy to collaborate in investigating the most promising novel treatment approaches. Working in collaboration with scientists from Roche and Genentech, expert researchers and physician-scientists in cancer immunotherapy from across the globe have joined together to drive the application and extension of immune-based strategies to more tumor types as well as advance research into the cellular and molecular mechanisms modulating immune response to cancer.
This Network aims to significantly advance anti-cancer immunotherapeutics and accelerate discovery towards benefiting patients who may stand to gain from novel immune agents as mono therapy or in combination.
The OCTC – Oncology Clinical and Translational Consortium
The OCTC – Oncology Clinical and Translational Consortium, a collaborative scientific research network comprised of six renowned comprehensive cancer centers, was launched by GSK in 2013. While GSK gains OCTC’s expertise in preclinical, translational and clinical development of novel anticancer therapeutics, the participating centers have access to studies with GSK’s early stage oncology pipeline and opportunities to accelerate and advance the next generation of novel oncology therapeutics.
In 2017 VHIO underwent evaluation for accreditation of the CERCA Institute of Research Centres of Catalunya (Institució CERCA – Centres de Recerca de Catalunya) for the period 2013 – 2016. In recognition of VHIO’s progress, performance in knowledge transfer activities and management of excellence, VHIO was awarded with the maximum qualification of an A grading.
Also reflecting our dedication to excellence and the quality of our services and procedures, our Cancer Genomics and Molecular Groups have both received ISO 15189 accreditation for their testing methods and technologies. Similarly, we continue to meet the high standards in quality and procedures in the audit of our clinical trials Units, carried out by the Generalitat de Catalunya. Our Research Management is also endorsed by ISO 9001 Certification.
The European Commission’s Human Resources for Research (HRS4R) strategy enables research institutions of excellence to actively implement and uphold the requisites of The European Charter for Researchers and Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers for their HR policies and practices.
VHIO’s comprehensive analysis and action plan was officially approved by HRS4R assessors in 2018 and our Institute was consequently granted permission to use the HR Excellence in Research Award logo as demonstration of its stimulating and favorable work environment.