THRIVE, the EU project to improve the prognosis of liver cancer, kicks-off in Barcelona

The European Union’s THRIVE project (Tumour host interactions in liver cancer for childhood and adults) held its kick-off meeting last Friday, 12 January 2024. The Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute will contribute with the expertise of the Cancer Epigenetics group, led by Dr. Manel Esteller, and the technical know-how of the Institute’s Single Cell Unit, equipped with the latest technologies in single cell analysis and spatial transcriptomics.

THRIVE, the EU project to improve the prognosis of liver cancer, kicks-off in Barcelona
THRIVE, the EU project to improve the prognosis of liver cancer, kicks-off in Barcelona

The project is coordinated by Josep M. Llovet, the head of the IDIBAPS group Translational Research in Hepatic Oncology, professor of Medicine at the University of Barcelona (UB) and ICREA professor. The kick-off meeting brought together thirty-five people in a venue at the Esteve Auditorium of the Esther Koplowitz Centre, headquarters of the IDIBAPS.

Liver cancer is a major health problem, with 1 million cases diagnosed each year worldwide (60,000 cases per year in Europe). It is the third-leading cause of cancer-related mortality in the world. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in adults and hepatoblastoma (HB) in children are considered little-known cancers and have a poor prognosis if detected late.

THRIVE is funded as part of the European Commission’s ‘Mission on Cancer’, which aims to improve the lives of over three million people by 2030 and involves 13 top institutions from eight European countries.

The ultimate goal of THRIVE is to improve the survival rates of both paediatric and adult liver cancer patients by understanding at-risk populations and tumour-host interactions and developing biomarkers for current therapies, as well as affordable new treatments to overcome drug resistance. Around 6,500 liver cancer cell samples (hepatocellular carcinoma and hepatoblastoma) will be used for this purpose and analysed with the most advanced technologies such as single-cell sequencing, spatial transcriptomics, microbiome research, artificial intelligence and next-generation sequencing, as well as patient-derived organoids and xeno-implants.   Among other things, the THRIVE project aims to:

  1. Define the molecular characteristics of predisposition to cancer and of populations at risk of developing liver cancer, particularly of patients associated with metabolic syndrome.

  2. Identify molecular and AI response markers for immunotherapies.

  3. Develop a complete blueprint of liver cancer and the elements involved.

  4. Implement a pre-clinical drug testing platform for the discovery of affordable new therapies with a high impact and level of social acceptance.

  5. Maximise the impact on European society by integrating the humanities and the social sciences and provide accessible and reusable data and tools to support other EU initiatives.

In summary, the THRIVE project strives to better understand the main liver cancers in the adult and paediatric population so they can be treated more effectively.

“Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.”