Cure 51, the start-up that wants to unlock the secrets of patients who have survived “incurable” cancers

Cure 51, the start-up that wants to unlock the secrets of patients who have survived “incurable” cancers

The French biotech Cure51 has decided to “kill cancer” by revealing the molecular secrets of patients who have escaped tumors considered incurable.

Why do some “condemned” patients defy all statistics and succeed in overcoming tumors considered incurable? It is to try to understand the secrets of these “different” patients that the start-up Cure 51 decided to create a global database.

A fundraising of 15 million euros

The start-up behind this ambitious project? Cure51, a French biotech supported by the famous businessman, Xavier Niel.

To achieve its goals, the company thought big: it raised nearly 15 million euros to try to understand how these 0.5% to 2% of patients “make the skin” of cancers which usually leave almost no no chance (like pancreatic cancer, small cell lung cancer and glioblastoma, the most aggressive cancer of the brain).

Three cancers – particularly formidable – which have precisely caught the attention of two well-known entrepreneurs in the sector: Nicolas Wolikow (Ipsen, Qare) and Simon Istolainen (My Major Company).

What they have in common is that they are very aggressive cancers, which have not benefited from real therapeutic progress over the last fifteen years.“, explains Nicolas Wolikow.

Their idea: to find treatments against cancer… by taking an interest in living things.

Most research into cancer treatments will compare healthy and diseased patients. However, at Cure51, we look for sick people to look at the healing factors. We will look at what works, rather than what doesn’t. We want to understand why these patients survived, what they have that is different from others. In other words, we are interested in the living and not the dead. We reverse the paradigm“, summarize Nicolas Wolikow and Simon Istolainen.

The company’s other strength? It can count on the support of around fifty hospitals in Europe and on world-renowned oncology centers such as Gustave-Roussy or Léon-Bérard, the Milan oncology institute or the hospital of the Charity in Berlin.

1300 patients are affected

In total, data from 1,300 “exceptional” patients from 35 different countries will be analyzed.

We will be able to connect patient data, analyze it, identify biological signatures and develop new treatments.“, indicate Nicolas Wolikow and Simon Istolainen.

For this, the company assures that it wants to use Artificial Intelligence because according to the creators: “It is a data sophistication tool as well as a productivity tool. This makes it possible to analyze larger volumes of data much more quickly.”.

Questionnaires on the daily lives of these patients – particularly around their lifestyle – will also be analyzed.

We ultimately hope to discover a “molecular signature” which would explain the exceptional survival of these patients.“, explains to AFP Olivia Le Saux, oncologist at the Léon-Bérard center in Lyon, who supervises the project.