"To stem the spiraling cost of cancer treatment, a concerted effort is urgently needed to develop molecular diagnostics to better identify the patients that respond to expensive targeted therapies: It's Diagnostics, Stupid" [Bernards R, Cell 2010].

Breast cancer is the most frequent malignancy among women with 1.3 million diagnoses and 465.000 cancer deaths annually worldwide. Endocrine therapy for breast cancer represents one of the earliest targeted therapies and continues to be one of the most effective therapies in breast cancer. However, only 50-60% of patients with estrogen receptor positive (ER+) tumors respond to therapy, while also these patients eventually become resistant to endocrine therapy. Given that the majority of diagnosed breast cancers are ER+, this leaves a huge subset of breast cancers that do not benefit from endocrine therapy. New molecular diagnostic methods help to characterize these different subsets and can identify new ways of treating non-responsive groups. For the discovery and development of new biomarkers and profiles, the use of fresh frozen tissue remains the preferred method. Nevertheless, paraffine embedded/preserved tissue is the current standard tissue sample format used by hospitals and pathologists to conduct tissue-based molecular diagnostic tests. There are substantial commercial benefits in molecular diagnostics to being able to test tissues that have been paraffin embedded/preserved. In addition, being able to utilize these samples for validation allows access to large sample cohorts.

In this project, we aim to 1) translate available diagnostic tests into paraffin embedded format to make these tests available to all patients and 2) build new classifiers that help to apply a more personalized therapy to all ER+ patients.

Fast facts
Full project title: APplied PersonaLIzED diagnostics in ER-positive BREAST CANCER subtypes 
Abbreviated project title: Applied Breast Cancer Diagnostics

This VVC project is a spin off of the TI Pharma project "Predicting Drug responses in breast cancer", (T3-108), aimed to develop diagnostic tests that allow physicians to provide information regarding drug responses for breast cancer

Start date: 15 August 2011
End date: 15 December 2013
Goal: Developing prognostic and predictive markers and associated tools for breast cancer
Principal investigator: Els Berns
Project size: 13.7 FTE's
Project budget: 2300 k€
Partners: Agendia BV., The Netherlands Cancer Institute, Erasmus University Medical Center, Top Institute Pharma

“TI Pharma's program managers are experts in the content, enabling them to keep parties focused on the goals that were agreed upon at the outset.”

Jan Raaijmakers
Past VP External Scientific Collaborations GSK Europe
Chair TI Pharma Board of Directors

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