PPI in MErCuRIC is exemplified at the European Alliance for Personalised Medicine Conference, Belfast

Ruth Boyd and Margaret Grayson will present MErCuRIC as a case study in Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) in research at the European Alliance for Personalised Medicine Conference which is being held this week in Belfast, UK. The conference theme is ‘Personalising Your Health: A Global Imperative!’ and runs from 27- 30 November 2017.

Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) has become increasingly established as good practice in cancer research in the UK and, to various degrees, across Europe. INVOLVE defines PPI as ‘research being carried out ‘with’ or ‘by’ members of the public rather than ‘to’, ‘about’ or ‘for’ them. ‘The Northern Ireland Cancer Research Consumer Forum (NICRCF), a group of over 20 people affected by cancer working with researchers, has been a partner group in two large research programmes; the European MErCuRIC project a multicenter phase Ib/II clinical trial assessing a novel drug combination of MEK and MET inhibitors in advanced colorectal cancer (CRC) and S: CORT– a Stratified Medicine Consortium in CRC. These projects are case studies in patient/carer partnerships in personalised and precision medicine (PPM) research.’

For more information for patients interested in MErCuRIC, please click here.

Download the poster here EAPM Final Poster.



Two MErCuRIC publications from the Università degli Studi di Torino

Our MErCuRIC partners at the University of Torino (UNITO) have recently published two important papers. One appears in the October 5, 2017, edition of Gut, “Discovery of methylated circulating DNA biomarkers for comprehensive non-invasive monitoring of treatment response in metastatic colorectal cancer.” The second paper titled, “Tracking a CAD-ALK gene rearrangement in urine and blood of a colorectal cancer patient treated with an ALK inhibitor” was published in the October 2017 edition of Annals of Oncology. For additional information on these and other MErCuRIC publications, click here.

The team of Prof. Alberto Bardelli in the Department of Oncology at UNITO are pioneers in the tailoring of drug combinations to overcome resistance. During MErCuRIC, the group contribute to translational research aspects of the project and provide expertise in identifying resistance biomarkers, ctDNA based biopsies and xenopatient-based drug testing.

1st European Alliance for Personalised Medicine Congress

The 1st European Alliance for Personalised Medicine Congress – ‘Forward As One: Making personalised medicine a reality at national level’  is being held 27 – 30 Nov 2017 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

The congress will be interactive, focusing on diseases, general science issues (Big Data, genomics, clinical trials, etc.) and the views, progress and health landscapes across Europe. With involvement from policymakers/regulators, MEPs, national healthcare officials, patient groups, HTA bodies, academics, researchers, healthcare professionals, industry representatives, journalists and more, the aim is to shape the EU health landscape now and into the future.

Registration is open and a preliminary agenda is now available.

Two events in Germany for Patient Advocates and Experts

ESMO Workshop: Science for Advocates Munich – 13 – 15 October 2017

Click here to apply and for further details. Travel grants available in limited number. ‘Science for advocates’ will be a 2-day interactive workshop (Friday afternoon till Sunday lunch-time) with a combination of lectures, independent and group work. To ensure effective communication, the workshop size will be limited to 35-40 European Cancer patient advocates. Participation is upon application only.

Advocates will have the opportunity to suggest a relevant scientific study of their interest as a test case for the workshop. Otherwise, ESMO faculty will be asked to name one recent relevant study per cancer field.

During the weekend, participants will have the opportunity to directly apply learned content to their study of interest, including the statistical background and the calculation of the ESMO MCBS for that therapy, and generate an infographic representation of the content.

EMBL Workshop Lifelong Learning in Biomedical Sciences Heidelberg- 5 – 7 December 2017

Click here to apply and for more details.

Biomedical research scientists and professionals with successful careers contribute to better research and improved outcomes for patients. Effective continuing professional development can be the catalyst to success for both individual careers and medical advances.

The Lifelong Learning in the Biomedical Sciences Conference 2017 will build on the outcomes and experiences of the 2016 Conference, extending to new topics and a wider audience. The conference will incorporate talks, hands-on workshops, and networking and poster sessions.

This second EMBL conference on Lifelong Learning in the Biomedical Sciences will bring together diverse stakeholders from across the academic, industrial, professional and training sectors to share best practice and actively shape the landscape of continuing professional development in the biomedical sciences. We call upon all who are interested in engaging to shape this future.

EUPATI’s Latest News

EUPATI as an EPF programme is approaching the end of its first year, and EPF President Marco Greco evaluates the achievements – and challenges – of this new environment and shares his perspectives here.

The EUPATI Training Course Patient Experts in Medicines Research & Development has 57 new participants in cohort three. This exciting and unique opportunity offers patient advocates expert-level training in medicines research and development, specifically tailored for them.

Read additional EUPATI news from Germany and Switzerland here.

EUPATI Webinar on Patient Experience in HTA | 26 September 2017, 17:00 to 18:30 CET

Join EUPATI‘s webinar to hear about patients relating their experience when going through Health Technology Assessment (HTA) processes. Two EUPATI Fellows, Paola Kruger (Italy) and Joan Jordan (Ireland) will share their experiences. The point of view of the pharmaceutical industry involved in the HTA process will also be highlighted. Two representatives from Roche, David McCarthy and Colm Fahey will participate in the discussion.

This is a great opportunity to join the discussion, share your perspective and ask questions in the Q&A sessions. Register here.

Hajrah A. Khawaja, QUB will present MErCuRIC research at ESMO in Madrid, September 2017

Hajrah A. Khawaja, a post-graduate student in the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology, at Queen’s University of Belfast, UK presents her poster ‘RalB GTPase: A potential novel target for RAS mutant colorectal cancer‘ at the European Society for Medical Oncology conference. ESMO 2017 will be held in Madrid on 8 -12 September 2017. This year’s theme is ‘Integrating science into oncology for a better patient outcome’.

For more information on the conference and programme, please see: http://www.esmo.org/Conferences/ESMO-2017-Congress/Programme


New publication from UNITO

The UNITO team (D. Oddo et al.) has just published Emergence of MET hyper-amplification at progression to MET and BRAF inhibition in colorectal cancer in the British Journal of Cancer (DOI: 10.1038/bjc.2017.196).

Background: Combined MET and BRAF inhibition showed clinical benefit in a patient with rectal cancer carrying BRAFV600E and MET amplification. However, after 4 months, acquired resistance emerged and the patient deceased shortly after disease progression. The mechanism of resistance to this drug combination is unknown.

Methods: We analysed plasma circulating tumour DNA obtained at progression by exome sequencing and digital PCR. MET gene and mRNA in situ hybridisation analyses in two bioptic specimens obtained at progression were used to confirm the plasma data.

Results: We identified in plasma MET gene hyper-amplification as a potential mechanism underlying therapy resistance. Increased MET gene copy and transcript levels were detected in liver and lymph node metastatic biopsies. Finally, transduction of MET in BRAF mutant colorectal cancer cells conferred refractoriness to BRAF and MET inhibition.

Conclusions: We identified in a rectal cancer patient MET gene hyper-amplification as mechanism of resistance to dual BRAF and MET inhibition.


New MErCuRIC Publication

MErCuRIC researchers have recently published a review in Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology.

Targeting c-MET in gastrointestinal tumours: rationale, opportunities and challenges

Conor A. Bradley, Manuel Salto-Tellez, Pierre Laurent-PuigAlberto BardelliChristian RolfoJosep TaberneroHajrah A. KhawajaMark LawlerPatrick G. JohnstonSandra Van Schaeybroeck & on behalf of the MErCuRIC consortium

Data from many preclinical studies, including those using cellular models of colorectal, gastric, gastro-oesophageal and gastro-oesophageal junction cancers, indicate that the hepatocyte growth factor (HGF)–hepatocyte growth factor receptor (c-MET) pathway is vital for the growth, survival and invasive potential of gastrointestinal cancers. Following the availability of data from these various studies, and data on c-MET expression as a biomarker that indicates a poor prognosis in patients with gastrointestinal cancer and increased c-MET expression, inhibitors targeting this pathway have entered the clinic in the past decade. However, the design of clinical trials that incorporate the use of HGF/c-MET inhibitors in their most appropriate genetic and molecular context remains crucial. Recognizing and responding to this challenge, the European Commission funded Framework 7 MErCuRIC programme is running a biomarker-enriched clinical trial investigating the efficacy of combined c-MET/MEK inhibition in patients with RAS-mutant or RAS-wild-type metastatic colorectal cancer with aberrant c-MET expression. The design of this trial enables the continued refinement of the predictive biomarker and co-development of companion diagnostics. In this Review, we focus on advances in our understanding of inhibition of the HGF/c-MET pathway in patients with gastro-intestinal cancers, the prominent challenges facing the clinical translation and implementation of agents targeting HGF/c-MET, and discuss the various efforts, and associated obstacles to the discovery and validation of biomarkers that will enable patient stratification in this context.

EUPATI Seminar – Patient Involvement in Ethical Review of Clinical Trials

EUPATI is hosting a webinar on Guidance for Patient Involvement in Ethical Review of Clinical Trials, 29 May 2017 – 17:00 to 18:30 CET.

You can learn more and register here.

More information on the guidance developed by EUPATI can be found here.