The H2020MM04 is a four year project funded the European Commission's Horizon 2020: the EU Framework for Programme for Research and Innovation that will use dendritic cell-based immunotherapy to treat Malignant Mesothelioma derived from chronic exposure to asbestos. The project is coordinated by the Erasmus Universitair Medisch Centrum Rotterdam, in the Netherlands.
The research project will run from January 2016 to December 2019.
Asbestos is one of the major occupational carcinogens. The European Union has an extensive history of protecting workers and consumers against asbestos and even adopted a resolution 2012/2065(INI) ‘on asbestos related occupational health threats and prospects for abolishing all existing asbestos’ last year. Although asbestos is banned, it is still massively present in the built environment. Millions of workers and consumers in the EU were, and still are, for many years exposed to asbestos fibres, despite all measures.
Inhalation of even very low quantities of asbestos fibres tremendously increases the risk of developing Malignant Mesothelioma (MM). The IARC reported 8.100 MM deaths in 2010 in the EU. Despite all EU actions, MM incidence is still increasing. MM is a highly fatal disease with a poor median survival time from first signs of illness to death around 12 months despite aggressive treatments. To date there is no curative therapy for Malignant Mesothelioma. MM is considered as an extremely therapy-resistant disease. Chemotherapy is considered standard of care with a median survival increase of 3 months (9-12 months).
The Department of pulmonary diseases of the Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, in collaboration with international partners has developed a promising personalised immunotherapy for MM with very limited adverse effects. The first clinical results show a considerably prolonged average survival with limited adverse events (24 months, twice as long).
The EMA and the FDA granted this therapy Orphan Designation: autologous dendritic cells pulsed with allogeneic tumour cell lysate for the treatment of malignant mesothelioma.
The objective of the project is to deliver the scientific & registration package for market approval by the EMA of a novel immuno therapeutic approach to treat MM. This includes the execution of phase II/III clinical trial.
The European Cancer Patient Coalition will play a dissemination role within the project sharing the project news and results to all its member patient organisations. ECPC will also ensure that the developments of the project are designed and adapted to respond better to the needs of the patients. Malignant Mesothelioma is rare cancer and therefore of a great interest for ECPC.
ECPC: Isabelle Manneh-Vangramberen, European Cancer Patient Coalition's Projects Coordinator
H2020MM04 is funded by Horizon 2020: the EU Framework for Programme for Research and Innovation, Project N° 668769.