Research projects

100% of funds collected are allocated to paediatric cancer research projects selected by the Kriibskrank Kanner Foundation. For the 2018 edition of the LËTZ GO GOLD charity run, the Foundation has chosen the following two promising projects to find new cures, to improve existing ones or to find out more about the causes of paediatric cancers.

1. New therapeutic approach for the treatment of high-risk neuroblastoma?

Project Title: 
Improving neuroblastoma therapy by intratumoral targeting hypoxia and immune PD-L1 checkpoint

In charge of the project:
Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH), laboratory of cancer research, department of oncology

Doctors in charge or in charge of the project: 
Dr. Guy Berchem, Dr. Bassam Janji, Dr. Delphine Sauvage

Long-term objective:
to find new cures and therefore increase the cure rate of children with this type of cancer

Goal of the project:​ 
Neuroblastoma, the most common non-cerebral solid tumor in children, develops outside the brain and spinal cord and accounts for 12% of all cancer deaths in children under 15 years of age. About 50% of patients with neuroblastoma have a high risk form of the disease and have poor long-term survival despite very intensive treatment. More than half of the patients with high-risk neuroblastoma treated in this way succumb to the disease. Therefore, there is an unmet and urgent need to develop new and more effective therapies for children with neuroblastoma.

This project aims to evaluate the efficacy of immune checkpoint inhibitors in combination with targeting intratumoral hypoxia. The ultimate goal of this project is to provide the proof of concept for conducting clinical trials for the use of immune checkpoint inhibitors in combination with intratumoral hypoxia blocking molecules as innovative therapeutic approaches for the treatment of neuroblastoma.

2. What is the link between cancer and the pollutants we are exposed to?

Project Title: 
Effects of pesticides on the gut and their role in cancer development

In charge of the project: 
Université de Luxembourg (Life Sciences Research Unit) et Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH) 

Physicians / researchers in charge or in charge of the project: 
Prof. Serge Haan, Dr. Brice Appenzeller, Dr. Elisabeth Letellier, Dr. Mahesh Desai

Long-term objective:
to develop knowledge on the causes of paediatric cancers

Goal of the project:
Pesticides represent a class of chemicals used for the protection of agricultural products. Over the past years, the concern over their health impact has dramatically increased. Population-based studies have reported an association between pesticide exposure and the emergence of chronic diseases such as different types of cancers. Our unpublished results on the exposure of the Luxembourgish population show that pesticides can be detected in 100% of the investigated individuals and that the exposure often includes pesticides whose use is banned for many years. Importantly, one population, which is particularly sensitive to pesticides, are young children. Exposure to pesticides, especially early during lifetime, is linked to an increased risk of developing different cancer types among which leukaemia, lymphomas and brain tumours in children.

In this project, we aim at investigating how pesticides can affect the intestinal bacteria and the uptake of environmental toxins and thereby affect cancer development. 

Ultimately, our results will help understanding how pesticides affect human health and help develop strategies to circumvent the deleterious effects of pesticides.