Integrated immunoprofiling of large adaptive cancer patients cohorts


Some new cancer treatments harness the immune system to fight the disease. However, for most patients, they do not deliver a long-lasting response and they often cause unpleasant side effects. To address these challenges, IMMUCAN aims to study the tumour microenvironment in a bid to gain a deeper understanding of how the immune system and cancer cells interact at the molecular level.

Using cutting-edge technologies, the team will analyse tumour tissue, blood, stool and saliva samples as well as clinical information from some 3 000 patients with colorectal, lung, head and neck, breast, gastric and renal cancers. By comparing patients who are not going through immune therapy with patients who are, the project hopes to build up a detailed picture of the tumour and its microenvironment, and the impact of current treatments. This information could be used to further improve existing treatments and to develop new ones.  In the longer term, the project results could result in the identification of biological markers that will show which patients are most likely to respond well to immune therapies, and which patients would benefit from a combination of immune therapies and conventional treatments.

Achievements & News

The secret life of tumours

In recent funding calls, IMI turned its attention to emerging cancer therapies, seeking better understanding of things like factors behind resistance to treatment and immunotherapy success. Two projects in this field were launched recently – IMMUCAN and imSAVAR.###

IMMUCAN aims to analyse the tumour tissue, blood, stool, saliva, and clinical data from about 3 000 patients to hopefully better understand the mechanisms of resistance to current treatments (including immunotherapy) that would enable identification of new therapeutic targets and identify biomarkers that can tell us who is most likely to respond well to what treatment.

imSAVAR is creating tools to help figure out the potential safety or efficacy issues of immune therapies in the early drug development stages. Currently, tests used early in drug development don’t reflect the full complexity of the human immune system, and they tend to be based on a healthy immune system. This means that it is hard to predict how safe or effective immune therapies are before they are tested in humans.

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EFPIA companies
  • Abbvie Inc, North Chicago, Illinois, United States
  • Bayer Aktiengesellschaft, Leverkusen, Germany
  • Eli Lilly And Company LTD, Basingstoke, United Kingdom
  • Glaxosmithkline Research And Development LTD., Brentford, Middlesex, United Kingdom
  • Institut De Recherche Pierre Fabre, Toulouse, France
  • Institut De Recherches Internationales Servier Iris, Suresnes, France
  • Janssen Pharmaceutica Nv, Beerse, Belgium
  • Merck Kommanditgesellschaft Auf Aktien, Darmstadt, Germany
  • Sanofi-Aventis Recherche & Developpement, Chilly Mazarin, France
Universities, research organisations, public bodies, non-profit groups
  • Centre De Lutte Contre Le Cancer Leon Berard, Lyon, France
  • Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois, Lausanne, Switzerland
  • Charite - Universitaetsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany
  • Consorcio Para La Explotacion Del Centro Nacional De Analisis Genomico, Barcelona, Spain
  • De Duve Institute Aisbl, Bruxelles, Belgium
  • European Organisation For Research And Treatment Of Cancer Aisbl, Brussels, Belgium
  • Forum Des Patients Europeens, 1040, Belgium
  • Institut Curie, Paris, France
  • Institut Jules Bordet Asbl, Brussels, Belgium
  • Institut National De La Sante Et De La Recherche Medicale, Paris, France
  • Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
  • King'S College London, London, United Kingdom
  • Luxembourg Institute Of Health, Luxembourg, Luxembourg
  • SIB Institut Suisse De Bioinformatique, CH-660-0733998-3, Genève, Switzerland
  • The University Of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom
  • Universitat Zurich, Zürich, Switzerland
  • Universite Paris Cite, Paris, France
  • Uniwersytet Warszawski, Warszawa, Poland
  • Weizmann Institute Of Science, Rehovot, Israel
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and mid-sized companies (<€500 m turnover)
  • Novigenix SA, Epalinges, Switzerland
  • Owkin France, Paris, France

NameEU funding in €
Centre De Lutte Contre Le Cancer Leon Berard200 000
Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois1 767 621
Charite - Universitaetsmedizin Berlin20 000
Consorcio Para La Explotacion Del Centro Nacional De Analisis Genomico115 673
European Organisation For Research And Treatment Of Cancer Aisbl6 877 631
Forum Des Patients Europeens210 000
Fundacio Centre De Regulacio Genomica (left the project)138 268
Institut Curie410 000
Institut Jules Bordet Asbl50 000
Institut National De La Sante Et De La Recherche Medicale448 320
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven1 712 880
King'S College London765 066
Ligue Nationale Contre Le Cancer (left the project)40 780
Luxembourg Institute Of Health2 687 841
SIB Institut Suisse De Bioinformatique, CH-660-0733998-31 573 000
The University Of Birmingham10 000
Universitat Zurich603 700
Universite Paris Cite79 220
Uniwersytet Warszawski20 000
Weizmann Institute Of Science100 000
Total Cost17 830 000