SAGITTARIUS marks its official start

SAGITTARIUS marks its official start

Milan (Italy), Wednesday, September 27, 2023

IFOM ETS – the AIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology, in Milan, hosted the official kick-off of SAGITTARIUS, a new precision oncology project, funded by the European Union under the Horizon Europe program. The meeting brought together key project leaders and renowned researchers from various European organisations involved in the project to mark the official start of this game-changer research initiative.

IFOM Scientific Director Prof. Alberto Bardelli and AIRC Scientific Director Prof. Federico Caligaris Cappio opened the meeting, welcoming SAGITTARIUS as an evidence-based, precision medicine project making the translation of scientific discoveries into clinical advancements a reality.
Bringing scientific discoveries from the bench to the bedside and back to the bench is key to innovation, underlined Silvia Marsoni (IFOM) the project Scientific Coordinator.

SAGITTARIUS is a multifaceted endeavour with four interlinked sub projects: the Clinical Trial (which will evaluate the benefits of a new approach based on a tailor-made liquid biopsy test to treating patients with colon cancer after surgery), the Health Economics (assessing the cost-effectiveness of proposed innovative approach), the Quality of Life (focused on its impact on patients’ lives) and the Omics (a linked, but separately funded effort dedicated to analysing the biological processes that underlie different tumors to better address them).

SAGITTARIUS aims to reach three key goals in colon cancer treatment:

  1. Avoid chemotherapy in patients who do not need it,
  2. Avoid unsuitable one-fits-all treatment, and
  3. Optimise efficacy, quality of life and cost-effectiveness of the therapy.

The SAGITTARIUS clinical trial will be guided by Clara Montagut, from IMIM, as a study chair, along with the study co-chairs Elena Élez from VHIO for Spain, Sebastian Stintzing from Charité for Germany and Andrea Sartore-Bianchi from Ospedale Niguarda for Italy, with also Salvatore Siena (Ospedale Niguarda) as principal investigator of the coordinating centre in Italy.

SAGITTARIUS takes into account many different perspectives to accomplish its ambitious objectives. “Evaluating the economic consequences of the treatment will allow healthcare managers, and policy makers to make informed evidence-based decisions and thus improve access to the proposed innovative treatment strategy in Europe and beyond” affirmed Aleksandra Torbica, from CERGAS, Bocconi University, in charge of Cost-Effectiveness Analysis & Patient-Reported Outcomes (PROMs) together with Carlo Federici (CERGAS). Also, Marianna Vitaloni, from Digestive Cancers Europe (DiCE), underlined how patients’ co-creation is at the heart of the SAGITTARIUS project: “Ensuring that patients' view is included in the design and execution of the clinical trial is key to tailor treatments and make SAGITTARIUS count”.

I think that the opportunity to work on a project that is going to improve the lives of millions of patients is incredibly important” commented Ricardo Pietrobon from SporeData, who will lead the Integrated Data Analysis work package.

Project’s next steps include implementing SAGITTARIUS site and its social media feeds (LinkedIn, Facebook, X, Instagram, YouTube), signing contracts with key partners and cancer centres, and organising a clinical trial kick-off meeting by spring 2024.

The SAGITTARIUS project involves partners and affiliated entities from 5 different European countries: IFOM - the AIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology (Milan, Italy) and Cogentech (Milan, Italy), Fondazione AIRC per la Ricerca sul Cancro (Milan, Italy), Hospital del Mar Research Institute Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain), CERGAS - the Centre for Research on Health and Social Care Management from Bocconi University (Milan, Italy), DiCE - Digestive Cancers Europe (Brussels, Belgium), SporeData Inc. (Tallinn, Estonia), VHIO - Vall d'Hebron Institute of Oncology (Barcelona, Spain), and Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin (Berlin, Germany).
A network of 25 clinical centres in Spain, Germany and Italy will be also embedded.

Project contact: Silvia Marsoni -

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