Project: Genomics-based tools for personalized treatment to reduce chemotherapy burden in pediatric cancer (GEPARD)

Acronym GEPARD (Reference Number: ERAPERMED2018-209)
Duration 01/03/2019 - 28/02/2022
Project Topic Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common cancer in childhood with approximately 4000 new diagnoses every year in Europe. The prognosis of ALL has significantly improved during the past decades, and there is a big ongoing effort to find cures for high-risk ALL patients. However, the majority of ALL relapses occur in non-high-risk patients. Approximately 20-35% of the patients with low-to-intermediate risk genetic features have a slow therapy response accompanied by markedly increased risk for relapse. Secondly, previous studies have suggested that >50% of “standard-risk” cases could be cured with a shorter chemotherapy. Taken together, the biology within the “low-to-intermediate risk” genetic subtypes of ALL is inadequately resolved, hampering efforts to make ALL diagnostics and therapy more personalized, and leading to either overtreatment with unnecessary long therapies or undertreatment with increased relapse risk. We plan to focus on this major patient population that has drawn less attention, and aim to comprehensively characterize the patients with “low-to-intermediate” risk genetics and slow therapy response. We expect that our approach will allow us to shorten the chemotherapy of ”true” low-risk patients, and target more specifically the deranged biology causing slow-response in others, and thus save patients from the second-round of chemotherapy or stem cell transplantation. The study will be a transnational, multidisciplinary effort, combining multi-omics studies in patient samples and preclinical models with development of novel clinical bioinformatics interfaces and innovative high-throughput drug screens. Building on strong expertize in ALL biology, genetics, disease models and data analysis, our consortium will pioneer efforts towards personalized treatment strategies. The developed analysis workflows have applicability across a wide range of diseases with a strong genetic basis, beyond pediatric cancer studied here
Network ERA PerMed
Call 1st Joint Transnational Call for Proposals (2018)

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 University of Tampere Coordinator Finland
2 University of Eastern Finland Partner Finland
3 Karolinska Institutet Partner Sweden
4 University of Freiburg Medical Center Partner Germany
5 Heinrich-Heine University Partner Germany