There is a broad consensus that individualisation of therapy (personalised medicine) through the use of molecular diagnostic approaches is one of the most demanding challenges facing cancer medicine today.

Breast cancer as our main focus because it is the most common cancer in women worldwide with more than 1.1 million women newly diagnosed annually, accounting for 14% of all female cancer deaths. While the disease is curable in early stages, about 50% of patients present with stage II or III tumours. Today almost all women are candidates for different systemic therapies (endocrine-, trastuzumab-, chemotherapy), so that suitable and validated predictive assays are urgently needed to optimise clinical outcomes and minimize unnecessary toxicity. Furthermore, whilst our understanding of the molecular mechanisms driving distinct biological processes of cancer cell advances, concerns are being raised simultaneously regarding the ability of health systems to afford molecularly targeted therapeutics. 

   RESPONSIFY concept scheme

In order to discover the biomarkers with the highest potential for clinical implementation, we are tackling this issue using two independent but complementary approaches:

  • a high dimensional, multiple levels of molecular characterisation using genome wide technologies on human breast cancer samples treated with the therapies in question
  • a genome-wide si-RNA screen using breast cancer cell lines and the therapies in question.

The inclusion of diagnostic SME partners with expertise and know-how in development of molecular biomarker test will enable the efficient transfer of the validated biomarker assays to a routine diagnostic platform including development of CE-marked diagnostic test and will support the commercialisation and dissemination of the results of the RESPONSIFY project.