The group of Dr. Conxi Lázaro, principal investigator of the Hereditary cancer research group of the Oncobell program (IDIBELL) and head of the Molecular Diagnostic Unit of the Hereditary Cancer Program (ICO), has received one of the Neurofibromatosis Research Grants of the Neurofibromatosis Proyecto Foundation in its Call 2018. The two-year grant, worth € 40,000, will be used to carry out the project eintitled “Search for combined therapies for the treatment of malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNST)”.
“Individual targeted therapies have not shown efficacy in the treatment of MPNST, probably due to the heterogeneity of the patient’s tumor, the lack of interaction between tumor and stromal cells and the development of resistance to these treatments”, explains Dr. Lázaro. Therefore, drug combination emerged as a strategy to develop more effective treatments that address these three problems.
Dr. Lázaro’s team has already carried out a screening of high-performance drugs in two MPNST cell lines, identifying powerful and effective drugs “that we want to test in different pairs to find the best synergies”, adds Dr. Juana Fernández, postdoctoral researcher associated with the project. With the funding received, researchers aim to assess these combinations using a therapeutic platform for in vitro / in vivo precision medicine already developed that consists of three components: MPNST cell lines, MPNST ortoxenograft (PDX) mouse models generated in collaboration with Dr. Alberto Villanueva and a repository of genomic data of all in vitro and in vivo models.
With all this information, researchers want to establish prediction models of drug response, both as individual agents and in combination, compare and evaluate treatment in cell lines and in vivo models from the same patient, and study the effect of stromal signaling in treatments and the effectiveness of therapeutic combinations on metastasis. “In summary, we propose a comprehensive evaluation of various combination therapies in our MPNST therapeutic platform to move forward in the development of therapies against these pathologies”, Dr. Lázaro adds.