Young investigators in anti-cancer research recently met at ADSI for a training initiative of PreCanMed, the cross-border project on precision anti-cancer medicine funded by the European Union, within the Interreg Italia-Austria Programme 2014-2020. The secrets of one of the most advanced research technology and a fast-track to personalized approaches in medicine will be in the hands of the participants to the first Summer School on Tumor Organoids organized by PreCanMed in Innsbruck.
Knowledge transfer and exchange are the main benefit for young researchers thanks to the Italian-Austrian cross-border initiative PreCanMed. The first PreCanMed Summer School on new cancer enabling technologies took place in Innsbruck, Austria, at the laboratories of the Austrian Drug Screening Institute.
PreCanMed offered young biomedical research professionals in Friuli Venezia Giulia and Tyrol a three-day hands-on experience and a valuable taste of possible future strategies and tools to empower their anti-cancer research. Opened by a keynote lecture by professor Zlatko Trajanoski from the Institute for Bioinformatics at the Medical University of Innsbruck, the course is set as a unique interregional opportunity of experimenting innovative and more patient tailored systems to dig deeper into the molecular traits of tumors and their Achille’s heels.
«Handling and eventually mastering one of the most powerful technology in cancer research, and training the set-up of suitable drug treatments: this is just a snapshot of this summer school. Of value to young scientists and junior researchers, our course will provide them with powerful tools for shaping their research and career in biomedicine, helping them to improve their skills, achieve or set their research goals, and improve their curricula» the coordinator of PreCanMed, Stefan Schoeftner, said.
Schoeftner works with the Italian Consorzio Interuniversitario per le Biotecnologie – Laboratorio Nazionale in Trieste, the Lead Partner of PreCanMed,
Lukas Huber, who coordinated the Tyrolean Parners ADSI and MUI says: «We are a synergy of five partners from leading scientific institutions and health facilities in Friuli Venezia Giulia and Tyrol. Our mission is to enhance the research and innovation capacity of these Italian and Austrian border regions in the field of precision anti-cancer medicine. So, we work together with two priorities: the interregional implementation of a novel tool for precision anti-cancer medicine – the patient derived tumor organoids – and the training of next generation research professionals to the use of this powerful technology.
The patient derived tumor organoid technology consists of functional, 3D systems of tumor cells derived from patients. They can be cultivated in a laboratory and are like avatars of the tumors of origin. These systems have emerged as one of the latest frontiers in disease modelling.
Fifteen early-career scientists from the two border regions are now receiving their training on this technology, but the programme is expected to expand to include more participants in the future.
And what are some advantages of attending this PreCanMed initiative?
«Mastering these systems is not easy. Organoids can be developed from biopsies or surgical resections of both normal and cancerous tissues, but each tissue has specific requirements. Exchanging knowledge and experience with other researchers working with the organoid technology, understanding critical steps in their development and investigation is really useful» said Ilenia Segatto, working with the Department of Translational Research at the Italian Centro di Riferimento Oncologico in Aviano.
PreCanMed integrates organoid and omics technologies, high-throughput screenings of compounds and bioinformatics to generate new knowledge and develop more effective anti-cancer treatments, and to establish the first Italian-Austrian cross-border tumor organoid biobank.
PRECANMED IN NUMBERS
- a 3-year project started in 2017
- 301.277,95 EUR of funding (total project cost)
- 5 partners (Università degli studi di Trieste, Università degli Studi di Udine, Consorzio Interuniversitario per le Biotecnologie – Laboratorio Nazionale, Medizinische Universität Innsbruck, the Austrian Drug Screeening Institute)
- Young researchers recruited for the project:
- Mariangela Santorsola (LNCIB), Bioinformatician
- Odessa Schillaci (LNCIB), Cancer cell biologist
- Alessandro Zannini (UNI Trieste), Cancer Cell Biologist
- Marta Codrich (UNI Udine), Cell Biologist
- Iris Krainer (ADSI), Cell Biologist
- Arno Amman (MUI); Medical doctor, cancer researcher
- 2 regions at the Italian-Austrian border (Friuli Venezia Giulia and Tyrol)
- 3 cities (Trieste, Udine and Innsbruck)
Lead Partner and Project Coordinator
Consorzio Universitario per le Biotecnologie – Laboratorio Nazionale
Prof. Stefan Schoeftner
AREA Science Park
AREA Science Park
+39 040 3758030
Photo: The PreCanMed consortium and Key Note speaker Prof. Trajanoski © V.Molignoni