The RISEBrain consortium brings together the highly complementary expertise of 6 teams with inter-sectorial (basic and clinical) and interdisciplinary focus (life sciences, computational sciences, engineering) to tackle the growing societal challenge posed by brain metastases.
Brain metastases are the most frequent intra-cranial tumors in adults and are particularly prominent in lung cancer, breast cancer and melanoma. Current treatment strategies include surgical resection, radiotherapy and chemotherapy but do not, in most cases, significantly alter disease course, as reflected by a 2-year overall survival below 10%.
Emerging therapeutic strategies using adaptive immune checkpoint blockers (ICB) to reinvigorate the host immune system do show, at least in a subset of cancer patients, therapeutic benefit. However, compared to the extra-cranial compartment, brain metastatic lesions often show disconnected or partial clinical response to ICB, especially once the metastasis is symptomatic. This is leading to a paradoxical increase in brain relapses, which are progressively becoming the most relevant clinical entities of an otherwise controlled extra-cranial disease.
To tackle this challenge, the consortium aims at lifting immune suppression locally in the brain, in order to enable effective immunotherapies in brain metastasis (BrM) and bring forth lasting therapeutic benefits to the patients. The consortium will carry out a holistic approach using state-of-the-art strategies and emerging technologies to explore the cellular and molecular determinants of local immune suppression in the brain, complemented by functional investigations in cutting-edge experimental models. This will be enabled by the joint expertise of each individual teams (imaging, computation, experimental, clinical, engineering) and the unique and large set of well-annotated clinical BrM samples and liquid biopsies available to the consortium.