28 May 2019

Learnings from the Oncode Colorectal Cancer workshop


Elize Brolsma

To enhance the link between fundamental research and unmet needs in the clinic, Oncode is organizing a series of interactive workshops throughout the year. On Thursday 23 May we kicked off with the first one, focusing on colorectal cancer. Experts on both sides discussed the current clinical practice, unmet medical needs and research with the audience.

Though this is nothing new, the unmet need of selecting the right patient for the right treatment was highlighted at the beginning. Clinician Miriam Koopman (UMC Utrecht) illustrated the importance with a story about the conversations she has with patients. For example, when she explains their treatment option to get a therapy that really only benefits ~20% of the patients. Pieter Tanis, surgeon at the Amsterdam UMC, highlighted surgical challenges such as uncertainties around resection of lymph nodes.

In addition, Miriam introduced the Prospectief Landelijk CRC cohort (PLCRC) as a great resource of tissue, blood and data accessible to researchers in CRC field. She mentioned they want to learn from every patient, not only those in phase III trials. Their ultimate goal is individualized patient care.

Clinician Tineke Buffart (NKI) described how learnings from molecular biology give insights into clinical situations, for example through identification of CRC sub-types. According to her we need to integrate tumor biology in clinical trials.

A number of Oncode Investigators described technologies already available that potentially can help better understand treatment outcomes. One example is a mouse model where researchers observed different response in different areas of the colon, similar to what is observed in some patients.

At the end, Geert Kops, Henk Verheul and Jan Paul Medema emphasized the ways Oncode can support projects addressing unmet clinical needs, for instance via the Clinical Proof of Concept fund and via the Oncode Exploratory Development Expert Support (OEDES) team. Please contact Irene Kanter-Schlifkeif you’d like to receive more information.

The workshop ended with a lively discussion and Jan Paul Medema invited all participants to go home with a next step in mind to further research to impact clinical practice. Think of ideas like: who would you like to meet again to discuss a certain topic or which next experiment will you be doing.

Next workshops

Next workshops are planned in the second half of the year, most likely September and early December. Topics will be breast cancer and glioblastoma, more information will follow.

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