Lung cancer, great progress thanks to the Apollo 11 “mission”

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The lung cancer it is the leading cause of cancer-related mortality worldwide. It is estimated that the global incidence of the disease in 2018 was 2 million cases, a number that is thought to grow over the next 20 years.

If for a long time chemotherapy was the only treatment able to prolong survival in patients with advanced lung cancer, today the progress made in the field of molecular biology and the identification of important biomarkers related to the disease, allow to expand the possibilities of cure, looking at increasingly targeted and specific therapies.

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And it is precisely from this assumption that it was born Apollo 11important pilot project presented toNational Cancer Institute of Milanwhich for the next 3 years will follow in the footsteps of the international one which is obtaining great results both in terms of diagnostic strategies both as regards the chance of survival for patients with lung cancer.

The objective of Apollo 11, whose name recalls the historic space mission that brought the first men to the Moon, is to centralize data from patients with advanced lung cancer collected throughout the territory and create a artificial intelligence model able to customize the treatments thus improving the survival and quality of life of those suffering from this pathology. By creating an important platform, the project understands this collect patient data with advanced lung cancer, already treated or candidates to receive immunotherapy or innovative therapies such as molecular target therapy, coming from from 48 Italian treatment centers.

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«This system will allow to have comparable and easily available data with which identify and aggregate biomarkers such as clinical, radiological, genetic, immunological information, to be associated both with the natural history of the disease and with the response of a specific innovative therapy – he explained Arsela PrelajDoctor Oncologist at the Cancer Institute of Milan, PhD student in bioengineering and artificial intelligence at the Politecnico di Milano, as well as a young winner of the call that is allowing her to complete this mission – Thanks to the development of this “real world” national database and the use of this biobank we aim to customize therapeutic strategies to prolong overall survival e to preserve the quality of life of patients with lung cancer “.

The added value of the mission is to integrate information and biological samples between Italian centers, which will be stored in local biobanks, thus avoiding the dispersion of data from individual institutions.

Not only that, the sharing of data and samples from each center, which will be voluntary, can provide an important contribution to scientific research medium to long term.

“The collection of biological samples, standardized between the centers involved and precisely associated with the clinical and therapeutic moment in which it was carried out, is fundamental to study and monitor the disease and the effect of the drug. Only in this way- he added Monica Ganzinelli, biologist of the Thoracic Medical Oncology Unit of the National Cancer Institute of Milan – it will be possible to apply innovative techniques, such as single cell sequencing, and obtain solid results ».

The national association of patients is also among the main players in this important project IPOP – Together for Pulmonary Oncology Patientscommitted for years to ensure that innovative treatments, increasingly targeted and effective, can be made available to as many patients as possible.

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Source: Vanity Fair

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