COLOSSUS project: EU H2020 grant for research into colorectal cancer awarded to team led by EurOPDX members

EurOPDX members RCSI, UNITO and VHIO are key partners in a new international research study “COLOSSUS”, which aims to provide novel and more effective ways to classify and treat patients with a specific type of colorectal cancer (MSS RAS mt CRC).

The team has secured approximately €6 million in competitive non-exchequer funding for the "COLOSSUS" project which is supported by the European Commission's Horizon 2020 programme. The project will run for 5 years and will be led by EUROPDX member Prof Annette Byrne (RCSI). The full team is made up of 14 different partners from 8 countries and also includes EurOPDX members from UNITO (Prof Livio Trusolino) and VHIO (Prof Joaquin Arribas and Dr Alejandro Piris)

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common cancer in Europe with an estimated 420,000 cases and 150,000 related deaths in 2012. Of total CRC cases, it is thought that approximately 50-55 % involve RAS mutations. Currently, there are limited treatment options for patients with this type of cancer when they develop resistance to standard therapies.

The COLOSSUS consortium will study patient samples and use advanced multi-omic computational modelling approaches to classify MSS RAS mt into defined sub-types. This strategy will help to improve how patients are divided into sub-groups and to predict patient outcomes under standard treatment. The MSS RAS mt classifiers identified will be validated within the COLOSSUS translational trial – a multi-centre study for men and women with advanced MSS RAS mt mCRC conducted across Spain, Germany and Ireland. The team also aims to identify new combinatorial treatment options for patients and test them in preclinical models, as well as developing commercially viable clinical tests for classification of MSS RAS mt patients.

Of particular interest for EurOPDX followers, pre-clinical groups at UNITO, RCSI and VHIO will interrogate novel MSS RAS mt subtype-specific combinatorial treatment approaches in patient derived organoid and xenograft (PDX) population studies.

The COLOSSUS team hope the project will ultimately enable the design of more targeted and personalized treatment programmes for people with MSS RAS mt m CRC; benefiting CRC patients and their families, clinicians and health care systems and delivering wider economic benefits in the longer term.

You can find out more about the project here: https://www.colossusproject.eu/