Integration of genetic biomarkers and early Minimal Residual Disease to improve risk stratification and cure in childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

In this project FRRB finances the italian Coordinator:  University of Milano Bicocca. The Principal Investigator responsible of the project is Prof. Andrea Biondi.

FRRB also finances partner number 2: ASST Monza. The Principal Investigator is Dr. Alberto Piperno.

Pathology of interest:

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Area of research:


Start date:

April 2018

End date:

March 2021


€ 464.996,00

Project partners:

University of Milano Bicocca, Italy – leading partner

ASST Monza, Italy

Hannover Medical School, Germany

University of Heidelberg, Germany

Sheba Medical Center, Israel

Universitè Paris Diderot, France


Childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) can be cured in about 85% of patients, mainly by the application of intensive combination chemotherapy regimens, according to a limited number of prognostic factors. However, a better and personalized adjustment of therapy is urgently needed to increase success and avoid long term toxic effects.

Therefore, the use of minimally invasive methods to screen the childhood ALL population for new molecular markers at diagnosis and the combination of genetic information with MRD monitoring in the early treatment phases, will allow the improvement of risk stratification and subsequent clinical decision making for improved personalized precision treatment of children and adolescents with ALL.

In this funded project, advanced molecular biology competences (including NGS, whole genome tests and highly sensitive quantitative PCR) as well as integration with highly curated data management of patients enrolled in AIEOP-BFM and EORTC protocols will be attained..

Having in the same network a strong scientific rationale, similar clinical protocol, a large prospectively treated patient cohort, availability of samples and access to targeted drugs as well as optimal technical skills, we are in the position to design better stratification of children in clinical protocols, and provide targets for clinically valid alternative therapeutic strategies. This project offers a perfect opportunity to extensively apply the concept of personalized medicine in pediatric ALL and is fully adherent to the guidelines of the call and the needs of the European Health System concerning diagnostic suitability. This new stratification and personalized therapy will allow to spare excessive hospitalization of patients, including the need for bone marrow transplantation; as well as the medium to reduce long-term side effects of high-dose chemotherapy. For the health systems, this will mean reducing the excessive costs associated with avoidable medical practices using valid substitute therapies. 

More information about the transnational project and the TRANSCAN-2 programme can be found at the following link: