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Fadila Laanan, Secretary of State for the Brussels Region, visits Camel-IDS

Mrs Fadila Laanan, state secretary responsible for scientific research, visited VUB/UZ Brussel spin-off Camel-IDS, to learn more about its innovative research, supported by the Brussels Region. Camel-IDS uses antibody fragments of camelids to target therapeutic radioisotopes at selected molecules on the surface of cancer cells. The composition and selection of its medicines are aimed at a very effective killing of cancer cells while sparing healthy tissue. First applications in development focus on breast and gastric cancer.

Irradiate cancer cells, spare healthy tissue

Camel-IDS is a spin-off of VUB’s Molecular Imaging (MIMA) research group and the UZ Brussel Department of Nuclear Medicine, led by Professor Tony Lahoutte. It is based at the Brussels Health Campus, where it is fully embedded in the expertise available at VUB and UZ Brussel. By developing a new class of medicine that works differently to the treatments already on the market, Camel-IDS wants to offer a therapy for cancer patients for whom existing medicines are insufficient. They are developing radio-pharmaceutical medicines that will allow them to irradiate cancer cells in a targeted, efficient way, while sparing healthy tissue.

Antibody fragments from camelids

Groundbreaking research at VUB has shown that camelids – such as camels, dromedaries and llamas – contain a specific type of antibody, of which the fragments binding to target molecules can be applied very effectively in biotechnology. In collaboration with VIB, various spin-offs have already come out of VUB that apply these camelid antibody fragments in medicine (Ablynx, Confo Therapeutics) and agro-biotechnology (AgroSavfe).

Camel-IDS uses these antibody fragments to target therapeutic radioisotopes at selected molecules on the surface of cancer cells. The composition and selection of its medicines are aimed at a very effective killing of cancer cells while sparing healthy tissue.

First applications for breast and gastric cancer

The first product in development is a new medicine to tackle the Her2 cancer cell receptor, with a first clinical study under way at UZ Brussel, sponsored by Camel-IDS. If this study confirms previous promising results, a full clinical development will proceed in the coming years to offer medics a new possibility of treating Her2-positive breast and gastric cancer. Camel-IDS is also working on developing additional products aimed at treating other types of cancer.

Brussels Region

Camel-IDS’s innovative research programmes are supported financially by two subsidies from the Brussels Region (Innoviris Explore) and have received business support from LifeTech Brussels.

Camel-IDS is currently owned by the founders (including VUB), as well as a number of private investors and the Fournier-Majoie Foundation.

Click here to view the report of RTBF.