Cancer treatment and monitoring through identification of circulating tumor cells and tumor related nucleic acids in blood (CANCER-ID)

At a Glance
  • Status: Active Consortium
  • Year Launched: 2015
  • Initiating Organization: Innovative Medicines Initiative
  • Initiator Type: Government
  • Disease focus:
  • Location: International
Cancer ID


CANCER-ID is a public-private partnership within the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) with the aim to evaluate technologies for enrichment, isolation and analysis of Circulating Tumor Cells (CTCs), circulating free tumor DNA (ctDNA) and microRNAs (miRNAs) as biomarkers for cancer liquid biopsy. 


The consortium aims to:

  • Establish criteria for evaluation of different CTC isolation technologies;
  • Develop sample collection and developing storage protocols (SOPs) allowing shipment and bio banking for collection and analysis at different research sites;
  • Compare methods for the molecular analysis of CTCs with respect to correlation with primary tumor material, clinical outcome, treatment response and ctDNA status of patients;
  • Evaluate different ctDNA/miRNA analysis methodologies in terms of compatibility with sample collection and storage as well as reproducibility in clinical samples;
  • Develop database and data analysis infrastructure for correlative studies of CTCs, ctDNAs and miRNAs in clinical samples;
  • Develop technologies for blood-based companion diagnostics ideally up to proof of clinical utility supporting regulatory approval. In order to show clinical utility CANCER-ID is aligned with three clinical studies enrolling Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) patients:

Consortium History

2015 – Start of the consortium with a 5-year duration; integration of diagnostics companies as new partners to the project; Critical Path Innovation Meeting with FDA/CDER (Oct 2015); 52 presentations and 16 publications triggered by the project in year one.

Structure & Governance

Currently 37 partners from 13 countries in Europe and the US collaborate in 5 Work Packages (WPs) subdivided into different tasks. The WPs address the following topics:
WP0: Implementation and evaluation of liquid biopsy technologies at different partner sites, SOPs for preanalytical sample handling
WP1: Establishment of technologies and according protocols for CTCs, ctDNA and miRNA in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) clinical samples
WP2: Establishment of technologies and according protocols for CTCs, ctDNA and miRNA in anti-HER2-treatment refractory metastatic breast cancer clinical samples
WP3: Bioinformatics and data infrastructure
WP4: Project management and dissemination

Both WPs and tasks have leaders from academia and industry to ensure optimal representation of different stakeholder needs and expertise. The Project Executive is formed by the academic project leader and the EFPIA coordinator together with their deputies and decides in biweekly teleconferences about administrative topics, and scientific and strategic positioning of CANCER-ID. The Project Executive reports to the General Assembly in which all partners convene once a year and have one vote to decide about topics of general relevance to the whole consortium. A Steering Committee consisting of the WP, and task leaders meets every 6 months to discuss and decide about scientific topics.
The Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) of the project consists of internationally renowned experts in the field of liquid biopsy and a patient organization. The SAB members are invited to the General Assembly of CANCER-ID and regularly updated about the progress of the consortium and asked for their input.


CANCER-ID has a total funding of currently €18.3 million, including IMI funding (€6.6 million), in-kind funding contributions from the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA; €7.6 million), and €2.9 million from other non-EFPIA companies.

Intellectual Property

CANCER-ID operates under the IMI intellectual property (IP) umbrella. IP to all discoveries is owned by the partner(s) who made a discovery within the project (foreground IP). Other participants are granted access rights to the foreground IP for research use, while the partners in possession of the IP have the right to out-license to third parties. Third parties may request access rights, which do not involve the ability to sublicense without receiving authorization from the IP-owning partners.

Patient Engagement

CANCER-ID reaches out to patient organizations and advocacy groups requesting their feedback on technologies under evaluation in order to ensure involvement of patients into developments in the liquid biopsy field. One patient organization is part of the Scientific Advisory Board of CANCER-ID and other groups active in the field of non-small cell lung cancer or breast cancer are invited to interact with the consortium.

Data Sharing

Data are shared within CANCER-ID using a consortium database (original data and documents) and a password-protected portal linked to the consortium’s website (protocols, SOPs, administrative documents). An infrastructure for sharing clinical data across national and organizational borders that complies with the different regulations applicable to the various stakeholders is currently being planned.


Dissemination activities in 2015:

  • AACR poster about the project increasing ex-EU visibility
  • 52 presentations
  • 16 publications
  • 25 press releases
  • More than 3,000 visits on the website

Points of Contact

EFPIA Project Coordinator:
Thomas Schlange, PhD
Bayer Pharma AG
Research Center Elberfeld
Aprather Weg 18a
42096 Wuppertal
phone: +49 (0)202 365403

Scientific Project Coordinator
Prof. Klaus Pantel, MD
University Hospital Hamburg/Eppendorf (UKE)
Martinistr. 52
20246 Hamburg
phone: +49 (0) 40 7410-53503

Project Manager
Romana Ruiss
Gabo:mi Gesellschaft für Ablauforganisation
Oskar-von-Miller-Straße 29
80333 München
phone: +49 (0) 89 28810421

Sponsors & Partners

Participant / Sponsor

Bayer Pharma AG, Germany (Thomas Schlange)

Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany (Klaus Pantel)

Universiteit Twente, The Netherlands (Leon Terstappen)

The University of Manchester, United Kingdom (Caroline Dive)

Institut Gustave Roussy, France (Francoise Farace)

University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, The Netherlands (Harry Groen)

Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, Germany (Nikolas Stoecklein)

Istituto Oncologico Veneto IRCCS, Italy (Rita Zamarchi)

Medical University of Graz, Austria (Michael Speicher)

National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece (Evi Lianidou)

Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Montpellier, France (Catherine Alix-Panabières)

The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom (Carlos Caldas)

Max-Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics, Germany (Marie-Laure Yaspo)

Universita Degli Studi Di Torino, Italy (Alberto Bardelli)

Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany (Ulrich Keilholz)

Oslo University Hospital, Norway (Bjørn Naume)

Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum DKFZ, Germany (Andreas Trumpp)

Institut Curie, France (Jean-Yves Pierga)

European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer EORTC, Belgium (Vassilis Golfinopoulos)

Integrated Biobank Of Luxembourg Foundation, Luxembourg (Catherine Larue)

GILUPI GmbH, Germany (Katja Vahl)

VyCAP, The Netherlands (Arjan Tibbe)

LEUKOCARE AG, Germany (Martin Scholz)

Tataa Biocenter, Sweden (Mikael Kubista)

Alacris Theranostics GmbH, Germany (Bodo Lange)

GABO:milliarium mbH & Co. KG, Germany (Birgit Fuchs)

Boehringer-Ingelheim, Germany (Ralph Graeser)

Servier, France (Brian Lockhart)

Eli Lilly, United Kingdom (Christoph Reinhard)

Orion, Finland (Elina Serkkola)

Menarini Silicon Biosystems, Italy (Nicolò Manaresi)

Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics, Germany (Michael Pugia)

Qiagen GmbH, Germany (Markus Sprenger-Haussels)

Agilent, United States of America (Simone Marticke)

Terumo BCT, United States of America (James Ladtkow)

Illumina, United States of America (Jennifer Stone)

ANGLE Plc, United Kingdom (Michael O’Brien)

Last Updated: 05/20/2016

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