Tumor testing for advanced bladder cancer

31 August 2021

Tumor testing for advanced bladder cancer to predict treatment efficacy

Rotterdam, The Netherlands, August 2021

The Erasmus Mc Bladder Cancer Centre and VitroScan BV join forces in the EVITA project: “Tumor testing for advanced bladder cancer to predict treatment efficacy” The project was awarded with an Erasmus MC-TKI-LSH Match Call (PPP) allowance.

In 2020, 7000 patients have been diagnosed with bladder cancer in the Netherlands. Every one in four patients has muscle-invasive bladder cancer (MIBC), which is potentially lethal. The mortality rate of MIBC in the Netherlands is 25 patients/week. Moreover, bladder cancer is the most expensive tumor type per treated patient per year, which is due to high recurrence rates and expensive diagnostic and therapeutic interventions.

A clear unmet need in the care for MIBC patients is the lack of predictive diagnostic tests. The vast majority of patients is treated with drugs (chemotherapy) without prior knowledge of the tumour’s sensitivity to the administered drug. Exposing all MIBC patients to chemotherapy is ineffective in more than half of the patients, leading to unnecessary exposure to toxicity in many patients.

The EVITA project delivers tools for an improved identification of MIBC patients who will benefit from treatment, and to study preclinical bladder tumor models which enable innovative approaches to improve the care of MIBC patients.

Project coordinators dr. Joost Boormans, Associate Professor of Urology and Dr. Tahlita Zuiverloon: “Together with our affiliated hospitals we have succeeded to establish regional care paths for patients with MIBC and we believe this has substantially improved the quality of care for our patients. However, we are still in desperate need of reliable predictive tests, which could aid in clinical decision making. We are very pleased with the opportunity to leverage our expertise with that of VitroScan within this important study project.

Project lead dr. Willemijn Vader, CEO VitroScan: “We are excited to develop predictive testing for bladder cancer patients together with the expert team of doctors Joost Boormans and Tahlita Zuiverloon. We will be working towards reliable testing for bladder cancer patients to evaluate the effect of chemotherapy before the treatment is initiated”

About the Erasmus MC Bladder Cancer Center/ Erasmus MC Urothelial Cancer Research Group (EUCRG): The Bladder Cancer Center at Erasmus MC multidisciplinary counsels all patients with advanced bladder cancer from the South-western part of the Netherlands (3 mln inhabitants, 268b new patients in 2020).

About VitroScan: VitroScan B.V. is a Dutch biotech company based at the Leiden Bio Science Park. VitroScan develops fast and accurate predictive testing for multiple cancers and treatments to support better informed treatment decisions for cancer patients. VitroScan was founded in September 2016 to develop ex vivo 3D tumor testing to develop diagnostics for cancer patients in close collaboration with the clinicians in the field of oncology.

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