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Targeted treatments for advanced-stage bowel cancer


The EU-funded MoTriColor project is seeking to develop novel therapies for advanced-stage bowel cancer patients by targeting treatments according to each patient's disease subtype.

It is estimated that colorectal cancer (CRC), also known as bowel cancer, is currently third in the list of incurable cancers in terms of lives lost. Because early detection is difficult, sufferers often go undiagnosed until the cancer is at an advanced stage, leading to particularly poor prognosis.

During a previous EU-funded project – COLTHERES – MoTriColor investigators identified several distinct subgroups of CRC. Based on these findings, the MoTriColor project is developing tailored therapeutic options for CRC using molecular tests developed by the SME Agendia. The objective is to improve both prognosis and treatment outcome for patients suffering from metastatic CRC who have not responded to standard therapies.

It is estimated that up to 30 % of these unresponsive patients present one of the disease profiles MoTriColor is addressing.

The project consortium has identified three different CRC subtypes using molecular classification. Patients will be divided into three corresponding groups for Phase II clinical trials, which will explore the safety, tolerability and efficacy of the medication for each subtype. MoTriColor will also analyse any resistance to the treatments and validate the Coloprint® test developed by Agendia.

This will help medical experts identify which CRC patients may be susceptible to secondary resistance to the therapies, saving precious time in selecting treatment options during the advanced stages of the disease.

The MoTriColor project aims to set precedence for novel therapies in the wider field of chronic, non-communicable diseases by introducing the use of molecular diagnostic testing for better prognosis and treatment options. If the expected results are achieved, the project outcomes alone could benefit up to 30 000 CRC suffers in the EU today, not to mention those diagnosed in the future.


Project details

  • Project acronym: MoTriColor
  • Participants: Spain (Coordinator), Netherlands, Belgium, Italy
  • Project N°: 635342
  • Total costs: € 5 996 992
  • EU contribution: € 5 996 992
  • Duration: October 2015 – September 2019