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State-of-the-art patient-derived cancer models – driving new insights and treatments in cancer

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) and oesophageal cancers are devastating diseases with very limited treatment options and an extremely poor prognosis. Identifying novel biological vulnerabilities is therefore critical to develop more effective therapies. In this seminar, two experts will discuss using murine and human cancer organoids to identify and validate therapeutic targets.

Speaker: Professors Axel Behrens has been the inaugural Scientific Director of the Cancer Research UK Convergence Science Centre, a major strategic partnership between the Institute of Cancer Research and Imperial College London, since 2020. He also holds Honorary Professorships at King’s College London (UK) and Sun-Yat-Sen university (Shenzhen, China).

Speaker: Professor Nicola Valeri is The Douglas and Katherine Longden Chair in Oncology at Imperial College London and Professor in Gastrointestinal Oncology at the Institute of Cancer Research and the Royal Marsden Hospital, London, UK.

Prof Valeri’s laboratory and clinical research focus on gastrointestinal cancers with a special interest in novel bio-markers of response and resistance to treatment in colorectal and gastro-oesophageal cancers. Using tissue and liquid biopsies, his team aims to define molecular mechanisms and dynamics that govern primary and acquired resistance to anti-cancer treatment. Prof Valeri’s team is also developing large bio-banks of mini-tumours, known as organoids, from metastatic cancer patients to model treatment response.

Top 5 publications in the last 5 years:

1. Smyth EC, Vlachogiannis G, Hedayat S, Harbery A, Hulkki-Wilson S, Salati M, Kouvelakis K, Fernandez-Mateos J, Cresswell GD, Fontana E, Seidlitz T, Peckitt C, Hahne JC, Lampis A, Begum R, Watkins D, Rao S, Starling N, Waddell T, Okines A, Crosby T, Mansoor W, Wadsley J, Middleton G, Fassan M, Wotherspoon A, Braconi C, Chau I, Vivanco I, Sottoriva A, Stange DE, Cunningham D, Valeri N. EGFR amplification and outcome in a randomised phase III trial of chemotherapy alone or chemotherapy plus panitumumab for advanced gastro-oesophageal cancers. Gut 2020 Nov 16:gutjnl-2020-322658.

2. Khan K, Cunningham D, Werner B, Vlachogiannis G, Spiteri I, Heide T, Vatsiou A, Lampis A, Darvish Damavandi M, Lote H, Huntingford IS, Chau I, Tunariu N, Mentrasti G, Trevisani F, Rao S, Anandappa G, Watkins D, Starling N, Thomas J, Peckitt C, Khan N, Rugge M, Begum R, Hazelova B, Bryant A, , Jones T, Proszek P, Fassan M, Hahne JC, Hubank M, Braconi C, Sottoriva A , Valeri N. Longitudinal liquid biopsy and mathematical modelling of clonal evolution forecast waiting time to treatment failure in the PROSPECT-C phase II colorectal cancer clinical trial. Cancer Discovery 2018 Aug 30.

3. Vlachogiannis G, Hedayat S, Vatsiou A, Jamin Y, Fernández-Mateos J, Khan K, Lampis A, Eason K, Huntingford I, Burke R, Rata M, Koh DM, Tunariu N, Collins D Hulkki-Wilson S, Ragulan C, Spiteri I, Moorcraft SY, Chau I, Rao S, Watkins D, Fotiadis N, Bali M, Darvish-Damavandi M, Lote H, Eltahir Z, Smyth EC, Begum R, Clarke PA, Hahne JC, Dowsett M, de Bono J, Workman P, Sadanandam A, Fassan M, Sansom OJ, Eccles S, Starling N, Braconi C, Sottoriva A, Robinson SP, Cunningham D, Valeri N. Patient-derived organoids model treatment response of metastatic gastrointestinal cancers. Science 2018 Feb 23;359(6378):920-926.

4. Khan K, Rata M, CunninghamD, Koh DM, Tunariu N, Hahne JC, Vlachogiannis G, Hedayat S, Marchetti S, Lampis A, Darvish-Damavandi M, Lote H, Williams A, Eccles SA, Fontana E, Collins D, Eltahir Z, Rao S, Watkins D, Starling N, Thomas J, Kalaitzaki E, Fotiadis N, Begum R, Bali MA, Rugge M, Temple E, Fassan M, Chau I, Braconi C, Valeri N*. Functional Imaging and circulating biomarkers of response to Regorafenib in treatment-refractory metastatic colorectal cancer patients in a PROSPECTive phase II study. Gut 2017 Aug 8. pii: gutjnl-2017-314178.

5. Smyth EC, Fassan M, Cunningham D, Allum WH, Okines AF, Lampis A, Hahne JC, Rugge M, Peckitt C, Nankivell M, Langley R, Ghidini M, Braconi C, Wotherspoon A, Grabsch HI, Valeri N. Effect of Pathologic Tumor Response and Nodal Status on Survival in the Medical Research Council Adjuvant Gastric Infusional Chemotherapy Trial. J Clin Oncol. 2016 Aug 10;34(23):2721-7.

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