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Annabelle Decottignies - Institut De Duve UCL: The alternative mechanism of telomere maintenance: a new relevant therapeutic target to investigate in children and young adolescent osteosarcoma


2016 - Acquisition of a telomere maintenance mechanism is one hallmark of the cancer cell that provides cells with indefinite replication potential and the ability to form multiple metastases. Osteosarcoma is an aggressive cancer, globally defined as the commonest bone cancer in children and adolescents. Although bone tumour incidence is rare under the age of 5, it increases with age to reach a peak between the age of 10 and 14 years. In such tumors, telomeres are frequently maintained through an alternative and telomerase-independent mechanism that is not found in normal cells, thus providing an attractive new possibility for osteosarcoma therapy. For more than ten years, the same molecules have been used to treat osteosarcoma. Although, for most cancers, overall survival has recently improved with the emergence of new therapies such as immunotherapy, no specific therapeutic target has yet been identified as druggable for the treatment of osteosarcoma. The long-term objective of this project is to evaluate whether targeting this alternative mechanism of telomere maintenance would provide new possibilities of treatment for osteosarcoma. This 2 years project aims primarily at setting up and characterizing a new collection of primary paediatric osteosarcoma cell lines for testing this hypothesis.

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