Celebrating Milestones in Neuroendocrine Tumor Research

As we reflect on the past year, the Neuroendocrine Tumor Research Foundation (NETRF) takes immense pride in the strides we have made towards understanding and combating neuroendocrine tumors (NETs). Our mission, fueled by the dedication and generosity of our supporters, has been a catalyst for innovation, collaboration, and progress in the field of NET research.

NETRF collects outcomes data for all funded research grants. Through this outcomes data, we gain a stronger understanding of the broad impact NETRF has on neuroendocrine cancer research. We thank our supporters and researchers who drive these outcomes and push the field forward. We are excited to share some of these outcomes with you.

Clinical Trials

Your contributions have enabled us to embark on 20 clinical projects and trials since 2006, and we are particularly excited to share a significant milestone within this realm. In 2024, a first-in-human trial of CAR T cell therapy in NETs will begin, made possible through NETRF’s investment to Dr. Xianxin Hua at the University of Pennsylvania. CAR T cell therapy represents a cutting-edge approach to treating neuroendocrine tumors by modifying a patient’s own immune cells to target and destroy cancer cells. Since 2014, NETRF has funded the basic and translational research needed to bring this therapy to clinical trial, illustrating the power of early-stage research.

Innovations and Intellectual Property

In the last five years, our commitment to pioneering research has yielded 8 patents and patents pending, a testament to the novel therapies and diagnostic tools being developed and translated to the clinic. Notably, Dr. Roger Schibli of the Paul Scherrer Institut, a NETRF Investigator Award recipient, explored the use of a new radionuclide, terbium-161, for a more effective PRRT treatment. He received a patent for this work developing terbium-161 radiopeptides which holds the promise of improving and expanding theranostic applications in NETs. A clinical trial has been initiated to study the use of this radionuclide in NETs.

Industry Collaborations and Ventures

We’ve seen NETRF-funded research efforts burgeon into 5 industry partnerships and spin-out companies over the last five years, turning laboratory breakthroughs into tangible solutions they can make a real-world impact. These alliances are crucial for translating research into treatments and diagnostic technologies, such as the formation of Curasight by Dr. Andreas Kjaer of Copenhagen University Hospital, a NETRF Investigator Award recipient. This spin-off company is focused on the development of uPAR-PET tracers and therapies because uPAR, a cell surface receptor, is an attractive target expressed on both low-grade and high-grade neuroendocrine tumors.

Fostering Collaboration, Sharing Knowledge and Resources:

NETRF is proud of the strength of our scientific network which lies in the passion, expertise, and dedication of NET researchers. This collaborative environment empowers researchers to exchange ideas and collectively work towards breakthroughs that have the potential to transform the landscape of NET research. To this end, over the past five years: 

  • 80 new collaborations have been formed because of NETRF support, each one a potential multiplier of innovation and discovery.
  • 245 presentations have been delivered on NETRF-funded research, disseminating critical findings to the global scientific community.
  • 44 novel research resources have been developed and shared with the scientific community. These resources, including cell lines, mouse models, and data sets, are invaluable tools that empower researchers across the globe to delve deeper into the mysteries of NETs.

These metrics are more than just numbers; they represent lives touched, knowledge expanded, and a future brightened by the promise of scientific discovery. As we move forward, we carry the momentum of our past achievements, committed to a world where every individual facing a neuroendocrine cancer has a clear path to the best care and, ultimately, a cure.