EURE_CART header image
EURE_CART header image
EURE_CART header image

About EURE-CART

Cancer is a chronic disease rapidly becoming the most frequent cause of morbidity and mortality in the EU. Though enormously expensive (several billions EUR/year), currently available anti-cancer therapies are highly toxic and often ineffective and are major causes of chronic diseases. Adoptive immunotherapy with T cells genetically modified to express a tumour-reactive chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) is an innovative therapeutic concept, promising to eradicate cancer once for all, without causing chronic disabilities. The goal of EURE-CART is to bring the EU at the forefront of CAR-T cell immunotherapy and extending its applicability to incurable tumours that so far have never been tackled with this approach. EURE-CART project’s main object is to conduct a multicentre, first-in-man Phase I/IIa clinical trial to demonstrate the safety and the efficacy of CD44v6 CAR-T cell immunotherapy in acute myeloid leukaemia and multiple myeloma. CD44v6 CAR-T, is part of the CAR-T (Chimeric antigen-receptor-engineered T cells) family: lymphocytes armed with chimeric receptors that have demonstrated high anti-tumour potential, also against tumours, which are particularly aggressive and resistant to traditional therapies. CAR-CD44v6, which has already been successfully tested in appropriate murine models, represents a product candidate with a particularly high therapeutic potential, as it specifically recognises variant 6 (v6) of the antigen CD44 (CD44v6), expressed by many haematological malignancies, including acute myeloid leukaemia and multiple myeloma - as well as by several epithelial tumours, including breast, colon, pancreatic, head-and-neck and lung carcinomas.

Facts

Acronym:     EURE-CART
Start date: January 1st, 2017
Duration: 48 months
End date: December 31st, 2020
Project coordinator: Dr Catia Traversari, MLM , Milan
Consortium: 9 partners from 5 EU countries
Total funding 5,903,146 EUR

Context & Background

Cancer is a chronic disease rapidly becoming the most frequent cause of morbidity and mortality in the EU. Though enormously expensive (several billions EUR/year), currently available anti-cancer therapies are highly toxic and often ineffective and are major causes of chronic diseases. EURE-CART participants believe that patient-derived T cells genetically modified to express a tumour-targeting chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) will contribute to shaping the next generation of personalised cancer therapies. It is therefore anticipated that EURE-CART will have a significant impact on the life and wellbeing of cancer patients, their families and health care providers, as well as on the sustainability and excellence of EU health care systems.

Objectives

The main expected impact of EURE-CART is to strengthen the leader role of the EU in translational research, to establish CAR T-cell immunotherapy as the ultimate personalised therapy for cancer and to create secure new jobs in the EU through the instalment of an unprecedented alliance between academia, industry and regulatory bodies.

Specifically EURE-CART aims:

  • To pioneer CAR-T cell immunotherapy in the EU
  • To make a harmonised effort on advanced therapies
  • To foster the implementation of cellular therapies in the EU
  • Promoting personalised cancer therapy for better outcomes and reduced costs
  • Leveraging the role of advanced therapies for chronic diseases
  • Strengthening the academia-biotech partnership to “make it happen”
  • Creating equal opportunities in the European research area

Expected Impacts

Scientific impact:

Breakthrough research in cancer immunotherapy. The development of immunotherapy strategies for the treatment of cancer was elected ‘Breakthrough of the Year’ by the prestigious Science magazine in 2013, underlying its appeal as a radically innovative and rapidly developing translational research field.

Technological impact:

Bringing the EU at the forefront of advanced therapies. It is expected that EURE-CART will have a considerable and beneficial technological impact on EU research.

Opportunities for economical growth and new jobs:

Personalised cellular therapeutics as medicinal products. Considering the impressive potential of CAR-T cell immunotherapy, the biotech and pharmaceutical industry has already placed significant investments on its further development at the major academic centres in the US.
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