Bellinzona, November 4th, 2021 – On October 22, 2021, the Helmut Horten Foundation celebrated its 50th anniversary with a ceremony at ETH, in Zurich. On this occasion, researchers of IOR and IRB (Institute of Oncology Research and Institute for Research in Biomedicine, both affiliated to Università della Svizzera italiana) were awarded a special “jubilee grant” of EUR 1 million. The award was exceptionally granted to support a joint project on rare lymphomas that will involve researchers from IOR, IRB and the LOOP (a translational research center of the Federal Polytechnic School -ETHZ- and the University of Zurich).
The project is about “Precision medicine of Lymphoma” and aims at identifying novel targeted precision treatments for lymphoma patients.
The incidence of lymphoma has gradually increased over the past years, ranking among the ten most prevalent cancers worldwide. Annually, over 1100 patients die with leukemia and lymphoma in Switzerland. Despite a subset of lymphoma patients has become curable thanks to the development of targeted therapeutic strategies, the treatment of patients non-responding to therapies and with relapse diseases remains challenging. Therefore, there is a major need to optimize treatment selection for patients with blood cancers. The new avenues of lymphoma therapy rely on a combination of approaches that target both tumor cells and the surrounding environment that supports them. In this project, a detailed map of cellular responses to drugs will be implemented and used to identify innovative precision treatments for patients with lymphoma.
Since the early 2000s, the IOR has been dedicated to oncology research, while the IRB has mainly focused on research in the field of immunology. Recent discoveries straddling the two disciplines have highlighted the potential for synergies between the two institutes, leading to the creation of the newly formed association Bios+ (Bellinzona Institutes of Science).
The Helmut Horten Foundation is based in Ticino and aims at promoting medical innovation through grants to medical centers, hospitals, and other institutions within the healthcare system. The Helmut Horten Foundation has been a core funder of the IRB for over 20 years, also supporting several research projects of IRB and IOR and contributing to the construction of the brand-new research building that, starting this Fall, will host in Bellinzona all of the the IRB and IOR scientists, as well as the laboratories of translational research of the cantonal hospital (EOC).
The IOR and IRB are grateful to the Helmut Horten Foundation for this generous award that will foster and intensify the collaborations between IRB, IOR, and the LOOP Zurich.