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Neoadjuvant drug treatment for Breast CAncer-REsponse-prediction and response monitoring (BREAST CARE) – Nederlands Kanker Instituut (NKI), Amsterdam

Principal Investigator: Prof. Dr. S. Rodenhuis
CTMM Program manager: Eric Caldenhoven
The recent fall in breast cancer mortality is mainly a result of the addition of drug treatment to local treatment modalities (surgery and radiotherapy). Those patients that die usually succumb to distant metastases – for example, in the bones, liver, lungs or other organs. These metastases can, however, be treated with drugs. Because every individual breast cancer is different, it would be desirable to base the choice of drugs on an assay that determines which combination would have the best chance to kill all tumor cells in the body.
In the first part of this project, oncologists, scientists and their colleagues from the bio-industry will employ novel methods derived from genetics and protein technology to develop suitably sensitive assays. The methods will be applied in clinical trials that allow the effect of drug combinations on the primary tumor to be directly evaluated and the properties of the tumor associated with response or resistance identified.
The second part of the project involves developing imaging techniques that can monitor the effect of the drug therapy on the size and vitality of the tumor, even before surgery takes place. This could answer the question whether the drug is sufficiently effective to eventually kill all cancer cells in the body. An added advantage of the study design is that the imaging techniques developed may also allow a more precise planning of radiation therapy to the breast in cases where breast-conserving surgery has been performed.
Sjoerd Rodenhuis - rodenhuis_01.jpg
Prof. Dr. S. Rodenhuis (1951) is a Medical Oncologist who received his medical training at the University Hospital in Groningen, the Netherlands. He graduated in 1978 (MD) and obtained a PhD from Groningen University in 1983. In 1985 he started at the Netherlands Cancer Institute, first as a junior staff member in lung cancer research, later as a consultant medical oncologist (1987), chairman of Medicine (1994) and Clinical Director (1998). Among his research interests is neoadjuvant chemotherapy in breast cancer.

Prof. Dr. S. Rodenhuis:
"Adjuvant chemotherapy is already improving the cure rate of breast cancer. In theory, preoperative chemotherapy allows tailoring of the treatment to the individual tumor. This project will yield novel tools to predict and to monitor response. Cure is within reach and we must seize it: there is no substitute!"
Industrial partners:
  • Philips Electronics
  • MSD Oss 
  • MRC Holland
Academic partners:
  • Nederlands Kanker Instituut (NKI-AVL)
  • Academisch Medisch Centrum (AMC), Amsterdam
  • Erasmus Medisch Centrum (EMC)
Status of the Breast CARE project end of 2009: PDF (download)
In response to the first call for project proposals in 2007, the Center for Translational Molecular Medicine (CTMM) announced on April 1, 2008, that nine first-call projects would receive research funding amounting to a total of 150 million Euro. On March 10, 2009, it announced that eight new project proposals, submitted in the fall of 2008 in response to the second call for proposals, will receive funding amounting to a total of almost another 100 million Euro.
All Dutch university medical centers, plus several universities, a broad spectrum of small and medium-sized enterprises, major industry leaders including Philips and DSM, and the Dutch Government are involved.
The funding is provided by the Dutch government, industry and academia. The research is focused firmly on the ‘translational’ aspects of molecular medicine so that results can be applied as quickly as possible to actual patient care.
Breast Care is one of the projects from the first call.




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