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Establishing an algorithm for the early diagnosis and follow-up of patients with pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (NExT)






Project: Establishing an algorithm for the early diagnosis and follow-up of patients with pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors

Acronym: NExT

Call for proposal: Joint Transnational Call for Proposals 2017 (JTC 2017)

Contract number:

Implementation period: 36 months (1 September 2019 – 31 August 2022)

Project coordinator: Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e.V., Institute for Biomedical Engineering IBMT

Project partners:

Department of Medical Oncology, Ramon y Cajal University Hospital Health Research Institute

Biomedical Research Center, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Cancer Research Institute

Latvian Biomedical Research and Study Centre

1st Departament of Propaedutic surgery, National and Kapodistrian university of Athens

Bioquochem company, Parque Tecnológico de Asturias

Leader of Latvian team: Dr. biol., Vita Rovīte

Total Costs: 210 000.00 EUR



Standardized clinical management of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours (PNETs) is limited by different aspects of the disease, as its relative rarity (1 per 100,000 individuals), heterogeneous clinical presentation (hormonally functional or non-functional), the limited understanding of tumour biology and behaviour and the lack of prospectively evaluated risk stratification systems. While surgical excision remains the primary therapy, as early detection is uncommon, most patients present with metastatic disease at diagnosis and a reduced life expectancy as they are not candidates for resection.

Hypothesis: Prompt, specific and sensitive detection and characterisation of PNETs could lead to early detection, increasing the chance for surgical intervention and improve patients’ survival. Circulating tumour cells (CTCs) shed from primary tumours are considered attractive biomarkers for liquid biopsy as they represent an early step in blood-borne metastasis. Several studies propose that during malignant progression cancer cells undergo an epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), acquire invasive properties and stem cell-like features.

Aims: The present proposal, by building up a tissue bank of genetically characterized tumours, development of patient-derived rare tumour xenografts (PDXs) and organoids, aim to identify PNET-specific biomarkers urgently needed to design a next generation nanotechnology based microfluidic device and integrate the technology of minimally invasive liquid biopsy in the early detection of PNETs.

Methods: Serum and tissue samples (fresh and FFPE) will be collected from PNET patients and their clinical and lab records will be recorded. An expression study and genomic analysis will be performed in clinical samples by different molecular techniques whereas in parallel organoids, PDX and CDX will be established. A next generation nanotechnology based microfluidic device will be developed, based on the acquired data.

Expected results and potential impact: Better understanding of the etiopathogenetic determinants involved in PNETs formation resulting from the multidisciplinary collaboration within ‘NExT” consortium will hopefully deliver a nanotechnology-based microfluidic (next generation) device that by means of CTCs detection will present a powerful tool for the early detection of PNET tumours and follow-up of patients, contributing to their better medical treatment.

Information published 01.09.2019.

Mājas lapas izstrādi finansēja ERAF aktivitātes projekts Nr. 2010/0196/2DP/ "Latvijas biomedicīnas pētījumu integrācija Eiropas zinātnes telpā".