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PMC Pump Prime Fund 2018 for Elisabeth Letellier

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Published on Friday, 08 February 2019

In the frame of the annual retreat of the Personalised Medicine Consortium (PMC), which took place in December 2018, Dr. Elisabeth Letellier from the Life Sciences Research Unit (LSRU) received an award for her research on colorectal cancer.

New findings on Colorectal Cancer (CRC)

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is among the most prevalent cancers worldwide. More than 90% of cancer-related deaths are attributed to metastases rather than to the primary tumor they originate from. Recent advances in whole-genome sequencing indicate that, although the primary tumor cells harbour the necessary panoply of driver mutations to metastasize, non-genetic factors are required for these cells to fully exert their metastatic potential. “One interesting aspect of metastatic cells is that they seem to be strongly influenced by specific metabolic pathways and their derived metabolites. Intracellular metabolic changes might establish and sustain transcriptional programmes, among which also changes in the epigenome, required for metastasis dissemination”, mentions Dr. Elisabeth Letellier who is a principal investigator in the Molecular Disease Mechanisms group at the University of Luxembourg. 

Group picture 8th PMC Annual retreat 

Towards tailor-made therapies

On the occasion of the 2018 edition of the PMC Pump Prime Fund, Dr. Elisabeth Letellier was selected for funding for her research project entitled “Integrated multi-omics profiling of primary tumors and metastases from colorectal cancer patients: towards tailor-made therapies (MetPC)”. She was really honoured to receive this award, endowed with 60,000 euros, which will enable her to carry out the following pilot project: “We will recruit CRC patients and perform multi-omics profiling of 10 patient-derived primary tumor tissues as well as 10 patient-derived metastases. Patient CRC-specific metabolic models will be generated by using an integrated computational approach. We will further implement constraint-based modeling to identify tailored drug treatments for a specific patient. The selected compounds will then be validated in the corresponding patient organoids that are generated and maintained in our living biobank. Ultimately, this project will lead to the creation and implementation of a drug-screening tool, which may provide clinicians novel information for the selection of personalized therapies. In addition, we will use the generated organoids to understand the influence of the metabolome on driving metastases through epigenetic modifications.”

About PMC

The successful development of new therapies in the context of personalised medicine relies on the tight interaction between Luxembourg’s biomedical research sector and the clinical practice. To promote a constructive dialogue between researchers and clinicians, the Personalised Medicine Consortium (PMC) was created in 2010 with the aim of fostering new research collaborations addressing unmet clinical needs in the field of personalised medicine. PMC is a collaboration between the University of Luxembourg (LSRU + LCSB), the Integrated BioBank of Luxembourg (IBBL), the Laboratoire National de Santé (LNS) and the Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH).