The Luxembourgish non-profit association Plooschter Projet renews its financial support on leukemia research and funded a project from the TSI group that aims to characterise in detail the identity and features of cells from the tumour microenvironment in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.
On the occasion of its general assembly that took place Saturday 11th of January 2020 in Sanem, the Plooschter Projet reaffirmed its wish to support leukemia research in Luxembourg and made a generous donation of 30,000 € to the TSI group.
During the assembly, the president, Mr Yannick Lieners, and the board explained the goal of the association and all the actions that were done in 2019 to raise the public awareness on stem cell donation, a simple procedure that can save the life of a leukemic patient. Later a donation was made to the Stefan Morsch Stiftung, the German foundation where the stem cell donation is practically made (Birkenfeld, Germany). Then Dr Moussay and Dr Paggetti explained the activities of the group and the current and future phases of the projects, combining CyTOF analysis (Helios) of T cells and Imaging Mass Cytometry (Hyperion) of lymph node tissue.
Plooschter Projet is an initiative launched by the Luxembourg triathlete Yannick Lieners who had been diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia at the age of 25. With his association, the young man actively helps cancer patients by supporting cancer foundations and creating awareness among the general population on stem cell donation to treat leukaemia. Thanks to the intense information campaign conducted by Plooschter Projet over the last few years, the number of people from Luxembourg registered as stem cell donors has significantly increased.
For the second time, Plooschter Projet directly supports a research project with a donation given to the TSI group at LIH’s Department of Oncology. The research group, led by Dr Etienne Moussay and Dr Jérôme Paggetti, investigates the mechanisms that promote cancer progression. The researchers work in particular on chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), the most common form of leukaemia that is characterised by the accumulation of abnormal B cells in the lymph nodes, blood and spleen. CLL cells render the surrounding cellular environment immunosuppressive to ensure their survival and proliferation. In such a microenvironment, effector T cells are not capable of mounting a potent immune response anymore and regulatory T cells reinforce the immune inhibitory effect.
The goal of the specific project supported by Plooschter Projet is to precisely characterise the cellular microenvironment from CLL patients' lymph nodes, the reservoir of CLL. This should be achieved by using the high-troughput imaging techniques know as Imaging Mass Cytometry (IMC, Hyperion) in collaboration with the University of Bergen (Norway). A better understanding of the cellular localisation and how their functions are subverted by tumour immune escape mechanisms shall give hints for potential targets for new innovative immunotherapies.
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