By leveraging Italian and Austrian excellence in genetics, clinics and biotechnology, the p-care cross-border collaboration takes aim at cancer drug resistance and develops innovative strategies for re-sensitizing tumors to therapies and spurring the immune system to fight cancer.
At the final event of the p-care project, cancer biology experts and oncologists from the p-care team met with citizens, patient organisations and other specialists to address issues of precision medicine, biobanks in oncology and strategies for developing personalised and more effective cancer therapies through smart combinations of drugs. During the event, Stefan Schoeftner, scientific coordinator of p-care and director of the genome stability research laboratory at the University of Trieste, presented the data and insights gained from the project activities. Giannino Del Sal, Director of the Molecular Oncology Laboratory (University of Trieste) presented the relevance of precision cancer medicine and the latest developments in this field. Gilbert Spizzo, Head of the Oncology Day Clinic of the Bressanone Hospital (SABES), explained the importance and use of biobanks in modern oncological treatment. Marina Bortul, Head of the Department of Senology at the University Hospital of Trieste discussed the impact of the Corona pandemic on the treatment of cancer patients and preventive screenings.
Chips of patients' tumors and their surrounding tissues will be recovered during surgery or biopsy and sent to p-care labs, along with patients’ blood samples.
Collected samples will be subject to different procedures in order to develop complex, 3D cell systems (organoids and spheroids) containing different types of cells. Developed systems will imitate the tumor-of-origin and its tissue microenvironment.
Developed systems will be treated with different drugs used in anti-cancer therapy in order to analyse their response and the contribution of the microenvironment to it. Resistant cells will be identified and characterized by means of various analyses. Data obtained from tumor organoids and spheroids will be used to identify key determinants of drug resistance.
Collections of drugs will be tested on different cell systems in combination with conventional therapies to evaluate drug synergism and effective overcoming of treatment resistance.
Biological material, generated tumor- and tissue-like systems, and data will be collected and stored for reuse in research. They will expand the cross-border biobank initiated with a previous interreg project, PreCanMed.
Training activities and material will be developed in order to make p-care technologies and methods available to biologists, clinical oncologists, bioinformaticians and other professionals in the field of cancer biology and medicine.
p-care members organize a meeting with the public to discuss precision cancer medicine and the impact of Covid on cancer care.
Researchers discuss technological aspects of their experimental work with colleagues to accelerate scientific progress together. As second highlight a panel of leading scientist discuss their cutting edge cancer research in expert's seminars.
p-care partner Stefan Schoeftner and his team at the University of Trieste publish a scientific article involving the use of tumor-organoids to provide insights into mechanisms of cancer cell immortalization (Nature Communications)