Helsinn International Services is a Monaco-based affiliate of the Swiss Pharmaceutical Group focused on building quality cancer care products.
The most common form of kidney cancer, clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) is diagnosed in more than 200,000 patients worldwide each year and the number of people affected continues to increase. The current five year survival rate for stage IV patients is only 10 to 20%.
While the treatment for ccRCC in the past decade has shifted from an immunologic to an anti-angiogenic or targeted therapy approach, the kidney disease remains incurable when metastatic.
Studies investigating neuropilins (NRP) reveal that they are over-expressed in several tumors. However, their inhibition is currently poorly exploited in oncology.
This observation provided the rationale for further research into the potential of NRP inhibitors for the treatment of ccRCC. Conducted by PhD candidate Aurore Dumond, under the supervision of Dr Renaud Grépin and Dr Gilles Pagès, the research project is Targeting Neuropilin-1 (NRP1) and Neuropilin-2 (NRP-2) and their respective ligands, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A (VEGF-A) and Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor-C (VEGF-C) in ccRCC.
"We are very pleased to have entered into this partnership with Helsinn as it allows us to pursue a novel area of research in what is an increasingly prevalent form of cancer worldwide," said Professor Rampal, President of the CSM.
Riccardo Braglia, Helsinn Group Vice Chairman and CEO, said: "The Principality of Monaco is becoming a hub for technological innovation, including in the life sciences and we are pleased to be supporting this type of project from this region."
"Clear cell renal cell carcinoma is the most common form of kidney cancer and we are excited by the prospects of this programme and the benefit it could yield for patients."