EORTC values ICO –VHIO as partners in its pan-European SPECTAcolor network

eortc-wba-logo ico-logo vhio-logo2 bellvitge-logo

The EORTC has been very active assembling the pan-European SPECTAcolor network, and ICO -VHIO has proven to be very valuable partners in this endeavor to quickly find a cure for patients with colorectal cancer.

In Spain, the EORTC has been closely working with the Catalan Institute of Oncology (ICO) and Vall d’Hebron Institute of oncology (VHIO) for the past 18 months on the formation of the SPECTAcolor Biobank.  International collaboration plays an essential role in this type of collaborative project, and ICO -VHIO have proven to be a first class partners.

Denis Lacombe, Director General of the EORTC, says, “With a Pan-European network of over 30 clinical centers in 11 countries, SPECTAcolor is also very active in Catalonia where the ICO and VHIO are essential partners who have already accrued 180 patients of the 601 total of Pan-European patients recruited so far”.

“SPECTAcolor represents a powerful, cross-border collaboration which will spur the timely insights necessary to render personalized medicine more precise and accessible for an increasing number of patients suffering from advanced colorectal cancer. As dedicated partner, VHIO will continue to accrue patients at local level through its tight connectivity with the Vall d´Hebron University Hospital´s Medical Oncology Department, as well as advance biomarker discovery aimed at the rapid development of novel therapies targeted to the needs of each individual colorectal cancer patient”, says Dr. Josep Tabernero, MD, PhD, Director of the Vall d´Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO).

Dr. Xavier Sanjuán, Gastrointestinal Pathologist of the Bellvitge University Hospital (BUH), who collaborates with ICO on the project, explains “Molecular diagnostics has become the mainstay of treatment decisions of targeted therapies in colorectal cancer, both in clinical routine and research. This is transforming the way pathology department are organized and involves a great deal of networking between labs for the benefit of the current and future patients”.

A new approach for treating patients with advanced colorectal cancer: Biomarker based personalized medicine advances to benefit cancer patients!

Emanating from a sponsoring partnership established in 2011 between Alliance Boots (now Walgreens Boots Alliance) and the EORTC Charitable Trust, SPECTAcolor standing for ‘Screening Patients for Efficient Clinical Trial Access), is the first tumor Biobank and biomarker2 analysis platform to test molecular alterations in colorectal cancer patients whose illness is spreading fast. The aim of the Biobank is to develop personalized cancer treatments tested in clinical trials. In Spain, the project is supported by the pharmaceutical wholesale business Alliance Healthcare España.

A Biobank for human biological material (HBM) dedicated exclusively to colorectal cancer – The facts and figures[1] speak for themselves…

Dr. Candela Calle, General Director of the ICO Catalan Institute of Oncology says “A Biobank for human biological material (HBM) dedicated exclusively to colorectal cancer is indeed a very novative and needed creation.  Colorectal cancer (CRC), cancer of the colon and rectum is the second most frequent malignant disease in Europe and the third most common cancer worldwide. Every year, nearly half a million citizens in Europe are newly diagnosed with the disease which kills a quarter of a million Europeans every year. In Spain[2] specifically, colorectal cancer is the 2nd leading cause of death among cancers for both men (after lung cancer) and women (after breast cancer) with an estimated 14,700 deaths per year. This calls for urgent action.”

EORTC’s SPECTAcolor Biobank is sponsored by the Walgreens Boots Alliance corporate social responsibility program

On 20 March 2015, Dr. R. Salazar, MD, Head of the ICO Medical Department, and his team, showcasing the project welcomed a party of 35 international representatives of the Walgreens Boots Alliance corporate social responsibility program including Ornella Barra, Executive Vice President of Walgreens Boots Alliance, President and Chief Executive of Global Wholesale and International Retail, as well as other senior executives from the Company for a live visit of the laboratories.

Walgreens Boots Alliance formed a partnership with the EORTC Charitable Trust in 2011 (when it was Alliance Boots prior to its merger with Walgreens) to establish the Biobank for the study and development of cancer treatments, through employee-led fundraising initiatives which have engaged colleagues, suppliers and customers.

Ornella Barra in her role as Chairman of the Social Responsibility Committee, Walgreens Boots Alliance comments:  “CSR is at the very heart of what we do as a business.  We are delighted to be in a position to benefit organisations thanks to our expertise, enthusiasm and passion.  This includes the EORTC Charitable Trust, which, with our support, is making significant progress with its pioneering SPECTAcolor Biobank project.  I have always maintained that the long-term progress towards winning the fight against cancer depends on research, in order to find effective clinical treatments for patients.  We are proud to play our part in this fight, and overall of our commitment to being a responsible corporate citizen, leading our industry peers by example.”

Next, the EORTC is to open the first ever biomarker-led clinical trial testing specialized medicine

Following patients’ recruitment and sampling analyses, the EORTC is in the process of actively setting up the first ever biomarker-led clinical trial in collaboration with the drug development industry. This trial, unique of its kind, will soon welcome the first group of patients whose common denominator will be the same type of cancer identified through the analysis of the biomarker itself.

Thanks to its powerful international network of research, The EORTC’s SPECTAcolor Biobank will prolong and ultimately save lives of colorectal cancer cancer patients ….

[1] Source: National Cancer Institute

[2] Source: European Journal of cancer (2013)

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