The National Institute of Science and Technology in Oncogenomics and Therapeutic Innovation (INCiTO-INOTE) of the A.C. Camargo Cancer Center is one of the National Institutes of Science and Technology (INCT's), a program initiated in 2008 by the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq / MCTIC), in partnership with the State of São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP).
The mission of the first National Institute of Science and Technology in Oncogenomics (INCiTO), which was held between 2009 to 2014, and its present version INCITO-INOTE (2017 to 2023) is to fight cancer by applying innovative concepts and technologies for projecting the Institute as the best center for integrated research, treatment and education in oncology in Latin America. The inclusion of therapeutic innovation, reinforces the Institute's commitment to strategies that improve the treatment of cancer. All the investments related to the INCiTO-INOTE project aims to translate the results of the research into clinical care, so that the new knowledge is transferred quickly and efficiently to the Brazilian health system.
INCITO-INOTE is coordinated by the A.C.Camargo Cancer Center, with the participation of institutions such as the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, Barretos Cancer Hospital, the Ceará Cancer Institute and the Federal University of Paraná. In addition to national collaborations with UNICAMP (LNBio, CBMEG), USP (Institute of Biosciences, Mario Penna Association, Fiocruz-Paraná), and international collaborations with MD Anderson Cancer Center, Princess Margaret Cancer Center, University of Toronto , International Agency for Research on Cancer (France) and Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research.
INCiTO-INOTE, will continue to support the scientific program established by the INCiTO, in order to face the challenges that are still limiting prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. The study of Hereditary Cancer Syndromes (HCS) was one of the main areas addressed in INCiTO and as a continuity, in this proposal, efforts will be made to investigate the clinical, epidemiological and molecular aspects of these syndromes. The INCiTO-INOTE also intends to investigate a group of cancers poorly known genetically, molecularly and epidemiologically: rare tumors that together account for about 25% of all cancer cases. These tumors have a worse prognosis when compared to more frequent tumors, due to the limited knowledge of their biology and the lack of clinical studies that can increase the efficiency of the treatment. In this aspect, INCiTO-INOTE's objective is to create the Brazilian Initiative on Rare Tumors (BIRT) and support the Latin American Kidney Cancer Group (LARCG) to organize what could be one of the largest rare tumor cohorts in the world and establish the first bank of rare tumor xenografts in South America.
INCiTO-INOTE also aims to study resistance to cancer treatment, one of the main challenges in current oncology. The absence of drug resistance biomarkers in the different tumors is a drawback in their treatment and eventually exposes patients to ineffective toxic agents, decreasing their quality of life and increasing the costs of oncological treatment. INCiTO-INOTE will focus on the identification of biomarkers of therapeutic response in liquid biopsies, obtained from patients during cancer treatment. This information will be gathered and integrated, and will be of paramount importance in the identification and validation of potential biomarkers.
For the development of the INCITO-INOTE program, partnerships were established with Brazilian biotechnology companies and startups to complement the group's studies and to promote the development of reagents and analytical tools. In addition, INCiTO-INOTE will participate in a network with other INCTs, such as: INCT for Public Health Diagnosis, INCT for Cancer Control, INCT for Structural Biology and Bioimaging, INCT in Translational Science for the Discovery of Drugs for Neglected Diseases, INCT - Open Access in Medicinal Chemistry. These interactions will promote technology transfer and the nationalization of the main diagnostic genetic tests in order to reduce costs and dependence on imported products and, at the same time, increase the number of cancer patients with access to personalized medicine.
INCiTO-INOTE will also train students, teachers and professionals at different levels. Several dissemination activities will be carried out, including the education of patients and society in cancer research and prevention, courses for teachers and students of the public network, among others. Our proposal is to promote the technological potential in understanding and adopting precise medicine concepts and products for the benefit of cancer patients and society.
Figure 1. Schematic view of the program of the National Institute of Science and Technology in Oncogenomics and Therapeutic Innovation INCiTO-INOTE. Circulating tumor cells (CTC); Circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA); extracellular vesicles (EVs).
In summary, the objectives of INCITO-INOTE will be:
1. Clinical, molecular and epidemiological characterization of HCS, genetic characterization of new predisposing genes associated with these syndromes and identification of mechanisms associated with the biology of these tumors;
2. Promote groups such as the Brazilian Initiative for Rare Tumors (BIRT) and Latin American Renal Cancer Group (LARCG) to organize a clinical and epidemiological database on rare tumors and renal tumors;
3. Characterize genomic and epigenomic alterations present in rare tumors and renal tumors besides alterations associated with the therapeutic response;
4. Microbioma characterization of rare tumors;
5. Establishment of a xenotransplant biobank for preclinical studies in rare tumors and renal tumors;
6. Identification of biomarkers derived from primary tumors and liquid biopsies to predict resistance to cancer treatment;
7. Innovation in public health strategies with the development of lower cost genetic testing and bioinformatics tools;
8. Validation of innovative medical devices based on biophotonics;
9. Promotion of courses and international collaborative schools in clinical oncology, basic research, epidemiology, bioinformatics and personalized medicine;
10. Expansion in public health actions for the dissemination of new discoveries about cancer to society.
About the INCTs
The National Institutes of Science and Technology (INCTs) is a program to promote the advancement of science in the national territory, through the funding of multicentric research projects in frontier areas of science and in strategic areas for the sustainable development of the country. It seeks to articulate groups of excellence in research to boost basic and fundamental scientific research in an internationally competitive way; stimulate the development of advanced scientific and technological research associated with applications to promote innovation and entrepreneurship, in close coordination with innovative companies, in the areas of the Brazilian System of Technology (Sibratec).
Each project involves at least three institutions from two Brazilian states and, in addition to integrating research groups, the INCT should contribute to the improvement of teaching and the diffusion of science to the common citizen. In this way, the training of young researchers and support for the installation and operation of laboratories in Brazilian teaching and research institutions is part of the scope of this program.