Novel tumor-selective lethal miRNAs for the treatment of head and neck cancer

Start date: 2013-10-01 End date: 2015-09-30

Coordinated by: Université Catholique de Louvain


MiRacle focuses on the development of a therapeutic formulation for the treatment of head and neck cancer. Head and neck cancer contributes to approximately 5% of all cancers in the Western world. Unfortunately the majority of H&N cancer patients present with advanced stages of disease. These patients frequently develop locoregional recurrences, distant metastasis and/or second primary tumors resulting in 5-years survival rates of less than 60% The development of novel anti-cancer agents to improve outcome is therefore urgently awaited.

The goal of MiRacle is the advancement of a therapeutic tumor-killing miRNA formulation towards the clinic by combining two innovative technologies, i.e. therapeutic miRNA and head and neck tumor specific targeted drug delivery. Such a project requires (1) expertise in the therapeutic application of miRNA (InteRNA) and knowledge on the synthesis of biochemical active miRNA (Biospring), (2) expertise in a drug formulation to deliver the therapeutic miRNA into humans (Quiet) and understanding the synthesis of complex drug formulations (Octoplus), plus (3) in depth knowledge of the therapeutic indication, e.g. H&N cancer (VUmc) and skilfulness in toxicity tests that are required for RNA based drug registration (LPT). We believe that this project encompasses all parties that are required to successfully bring a tumor killing miRNA towards registration for first in human testing.