The Monaco Scientific Center presents a project to fight against childhood cancer… thanks to the sea anemone
The “Stem Cells and Brain Tumors” team collaborated with the team from the Institute for Research on Cancer and Aging in Nice to carry out this project.
This is a new step forward in the fight against childhood cancer. Dr. Vincent Picco, Research Fellow in the “Stem Cells and Brain Tumors” team at the CSM, recently took part in a meeting between pediatric oncology researchers and groups involved in the (non-institutional) funding of research on childhood cancer.
A meeting organized by the French National Cancer Institute (INCa), as part of the “paediatric oncology task force”. This working group, created in 2019, meets every month and aims to develop a proposed action plan, in order to commit an additional 5 million euros dedicated to research in pediatric oncology.
Groups of associations, such as Grandir Sans Cancer, Gravir and Unapecle are also part of this “task force”. INCa can thus better identify the areas of research to be funded as a priority in order to meet the scientific and societal challenges posed by pediatric cancers.
It is in this context that Dr Picco was able to present his project, developed in collaboration with the team of Eric Röttinger (IRCAN – Institute for Research on Cancer and Aging, Nice). This project aims to use the sea anemone as a model for studying the very early stages leading to the emergence of pediatric brain cancers.
The sea anemone: mechanisms common to humans
Thanks to its great morphological simplicity, the sea anemone is already used in many laboratories around the world. ” It presents external embryonic development, as well as an extremely simple nervous system that allows the study of neurogenesis live at the individual cell level “Explains the CSM on its website.
A simplicity that does not prevent these animals from sharing with humans the mechanisms responsible for the generation of the nervous system. ” This study model is therefore perfectly suited to better understand the genetic accidents that lead to the formation of tumors in children sometimes a few months old. “, adds the CSM.
Concretely, this means that certain pediatric brain cancers could benefit from a new approach and that small patients could be treated with therapeutic strategies specific to childhood cancers.
Funded in 2022 by INCa, which had launched a “High Risk – High Gain” call for projects, this idea is part of the research work to fight against pediatric cancer, carried out by the CSM, in particular thanks to the support of the Flavian Foundation.