Editor is a research project funded by Cancer Research UK, together with AECC and AICR spanish and italian cancer associations, through the Accelerator Award programme. It is focused on improving early detection and intervention of blood cancers. The project is a joint effort between institutions from Spain, Italy and the UK.
The overall goal of the project is to better characterise the initial stages of these cancers, to help develop new precision therapies that shift the current treatment of these three blood cancer groups: focus on treating the cause of the disease, rather than the symptoms. This will help also tailoring treatments that manage minimal residue diseases (cancerous cells that remain after treatment), instead of waiting for a relapse.
A systematic approach towards three types of blood cancer
Blood cancer is an umbrella term that encompasses different types of blood malignancies that affect a large European population: over 100,000 people get diagnosed each year. Editor will focus on improving early detection for three different type of cancers: monoclonal gammopathies, leukaemia and lymphoma. Our approach combines patient samples with the latest bioinformatic simulations, to find new endpoints to improve treatment efficacy.
Identifying precise biomarkers of early transformation
EDITOR will identify biomarkers for each type of blood cancer, through databases comprising over 5,000 patient samples and using mouse animal models.
Understanding & overcoming initial pre-malignant resistance
Previous projects have characterised tumour cells on bulk. EDITOR innovative approach will use genomic and cytomic studies to consider the context and heterogeneity of the tumours in normal, premalignant and minimal residue states.
In monoclonal gammopathies, the antibody-producing cells present in the blood secrete a myeloma protein, an abnormal antibody. Patients suffering from monoclonal gammopathy are at risk of developing Multiple Myeloma, a type of plasma cells cancer, or Amyloidosis, a group of disease in which abnormal proteins build up in body tissue.
- Intercept patients with gammopathies at risk of developing Multiple Myeloma or systemic Amyloidosis
- Detect early organ damage
- Establish timely treatment that may prevent organ dysfunction and potentially cure the disease.
To do this, the project aims to analyse pre-malignant plasma cells in healthy individuals and define their cellular and molecular characteristics
The term leukaemia comprehends a group of blood cancers that usually begin in the bone marrow and result in high numbers of abnormal blood cells.
EDITOR will be focused on two types of myeloid malignancies: myelodysplastic syndromes and acute myeloid leukaemia
- Characterize genetic lesions
- Understand their direct biological consequences.
- Develop advanced disease models
- Investigate novel therapeutic strategies
In order to achieve this, the project will identify molecular events involved in the premalignant states, characterising the genetic and epigenetic architecture the malignancies. Altogether, this will help identify molecular biomarkers and new targets, that will be validated in mice models.
Lymphoma is a type of blood cancer that involves white blood cells called lymphocytes growing out of control. These cells are in the lymph nodes, spleen, thymus, bone marrow, and other parts of the body, that are affected by the disease. EDITOR will focus on Follicle Center Lymphoma, a type of cancer affecting two types of cells, centrocytes and centroblasts, both white cells in the blood.
- Select patients suffering early-stage follicular lymphoma, who are candidates for precision treatment intervention.
- Profile patients to develop personalised therapeutic approaches.
To contribute to this, the project will employ different genomic techniques to identify molecular and immune profiles in diagnosed patients.
The major goal of EDITOR is not curing cancer, but providing the tools to do so in wide collaborative environment, exploring new therapeutics for several types of blood cancer. The results of the projects will be validated in mice, but won’t be applied to human patients. The development of new cancer therapies that are both effective and safe in humans is a long process and EDITOR is laying the foundations of what could be a new therapeutic approach.
Current therapeutic approaches treat the cancers once they are full blown, and they treat the symptoms instead of the root causes. EDITOR will locate the biomarkers present in the blood stream that indicate that a blood cancer is developing, allowing doctors to make an earlier diagnose, and locate therapeutic targets that are good candidates for a treatment.
Yes. EDITOR is an Open Access project, and the datasets, pipelines and programs used in the bioinformatics are available at the Research section of the webpage.
Yes, EDITOR is always open to collaborations. Please send a message through the form at the Contact section.