iCOPE – the interregional Childhood Oncology Precision medicine Exploration

The rate of cancer in children rises in Europe by 6-10% per ten years, and mortality is still high. Thus, cancer accounts for 20% of all deaths among children above 1 year of age. The treatment is intense and associated with serious side-effects and long-term somatic and psychosocial late effects. Improving the situation for the children, families and health care professionals requires an innovative research strategy.

iCOPE vision: An interdisciplinary and interregional childhood cancer research strategy that integrates germline and tumor genetics, biomarker profiling, pharmacology, bioinformatics, bioethics, e-health and telepresence.

iCOPE mission: To improve diagnostics, treatment, cure rates, and the overall life situation of children with cancer (at the hospital, in school, and at home).

To achieve our research goal, we will:

  • Build a database and biobank for childhood cancer research
  • Carry out extensive germline and tumor DNA and transcriptomics analyses to gain insights into cancer predisposition syndromes, somatic mutations, and tumor biology
  • Address ethical issues arising from genome sequencing
  • Promote clinical trials to give children access to novel treatment options
  • Investigate e-health as a tool to support healthcare at home
  • Develop telepresence robots to support children with staying connected to school during cancer treatment

Interregional synergies

iCOPE consists of several innovative, cross-border research projects. Each new project includes researchers working on both sides of Øresund, who represent complimentary expertise and research areas within pediatric oncology. The long-term goal of the iCOPE team is to create one of the strongest multidisciplinary childhood cancer research hubs in Europe.

To make iCOPE a leading research network, we will:

  • Recruit at least 13 new PhDs and Post docs
  • Promote cross-border research and education within pediatric oncology
  • Host research courses in both Sweden and Denmark
  • Offer leadership training for researchers
  • Exchange knowledge and data across research groups

Partners

Technical University of Denmark
Lund University
University Hospital Rigshospitalet
Skåne University Hospital.