Action Projects

The following is a list of granted projects resulting from joint efforts among CA17140 members.

New grant awarded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) to three research teams participating in the COST action CA17140 on Cancer Nanomedicine for an international cooperative project. The overall goal of the project is to develop nanoparticle-based medicines for precision therapy of advanced prostate cancer.

The project (SNSF-COST IZCOZ0_189862) involves partners in Switzerland (Prof. Carlo Catapano, Tumor Biology and Experimental Therapeutics Program, Institute of Oncology Research, IOR;, Turkey (Prof. Rana Sanyal, Department of Chemistry, Center for Life Sciences and Technologies, Bogazici University, Istanbul, and France (Maria Eugenia Riveiro, CSO Early Drug Development Group,

Project details

Project ID: SNSF_COST IZCOZ0_189862

Investigators: PI: Carlo Catapano, MD, PhD; Partners: Rana Sanyal, PhD; Maria Eugenia Riveiro, PhD.

Project Title: Nanoparticle-based delivery and combinatorial therapies for cancer

Summary: There has been considerable advances in the fight against cancer. However, treatment of patients with metastatic cancer is still a clinical unmet need. In the case of advanced prostate cancer, it is important to expand the currently limited treatment options to improve the chances of disease control and long-term survival of the affected people. We have shown that combinations of multiple anticancer drugs targeting distinct cell populations of tumor cells have a highly synergic effect in experimental models of prostate cancer. This project aims at developing nanoparticle-based micellar systems for systemic delivery of the synergic drug combinations to prostate tumors. This approach aims at improving treatment efficacy and limiting toxicity by avoiding exposure of non-target tissues.

The project “Nanomedine for glioblastoma therapy” (NANO4GLIO), coordinated by our Action member Valentin Cena from Spain and having two other Action members - Prof. Aiva Plotniece from Latvia and Prof. René Roy from Canada (Université du Québec à Montréal - who has just submitted his request as MC Observer), has been funded within 10th Joint Transnational Call (JTC) for "European Innovative Research & Technological Development Projects in Nanomedicine" within the framework of the ERA-NET EuroNanoMed III.

Summary of NANO4GLIO:

The main objective of this project is to establish a new therapeutic approach for cancer treatment general and for glioblastoma (GBM) in particular, a tumor for which there is no effective treatment. The novelty of the project relies not only on the use of RNAi technology (more specifically siRNA) to knock down selected proteins involved in tumoral cell survival and proliferation making them more susceptible to anticancer drugs and/or radiation but also on the use of novel cutting-edge multitasking nanoparticles (NPs). The specific siRNAs will be target-delivered by these NPs that will be fine-tuned in their structure and chemical surface to perform efficiently the tasks required for targeting an intracerebral glioblastoma xenograft:  blood-brain barrier crossing, siRNA target-delivered or tumor imaging. There are several relevant issues that are addressed by the project: a) Improving BBB crossing by NPs;  b) toxicity of the NPs in vivo and in vitro (on healthy and tumoral cells); c) fine-tuning of the 3D structure of the NPs based on feed-back from biological experiments and d) the use of selected fresh xenografted human tumors obtained from cells isolated from patients to increase the likeliness that the response of the mice to the nanoplexes could enhance our understanding of key aspects of glioblastoma biology and, in proper time, reach the clinical setting. The project will use a multidisciplinary approach strategy and the preliminary results already obtained decrease the technological risk of the project. The final result of the development of the project will be to provide the “proof-of-concept” in an animal model of xenografted human glioblastoma cells, obtained from patients by the clinicians participating in the consortium, that RNAi therapeutics is effective in cancer treatment either by itself or by potentiating the effect of anticancer drugs.

Our CA17140 member from Russia, Dr. Evgeny K. Apartsin, has been awarded the MSC Individual fellowship with the project "Design of multifunctional phosphorous dendritic systems for drug delivery" — EUREKA (grant No. 844217).

Dr. Apartsin will carry out the scientific activity of his MSC project in France, at the Laboratoire de Chimie de Coordination of the CNRS in Toulouse, France, in collaboration with our Action Member Prof. Jean-Pierre Majoral.

Dr. Apartsin's MSC Project abstract:

The aim of the project is to provide the interdisciplinary training to young talented researcher Dr. Evgeny Apartsin, specialist in biomaterials science and nucleic acid therapy, to become highly qualified world class researcher. The Applicant proposes an interdisciplinary approach for the design of multifunctional phosphorous dendritic systems for the delivery of therapeutic nucleic acids in vitro and in vivo. During the project implementation, novel stimuli-sensitive supramolecular constructions based on phosphorous dendrimers and dendrons will be created to be used as carriers for chemodrugs and nucleic acids. The synthetic part of work will be done in the Host organization, which is world leading institution in the dendrimer science and applications. The physics-chemical and biological parts will be done in collaboration with the Partner organization together with recognized specialists in biophysics, molecular and cell biology. At the last stage of the project, the synthesis of best candidate therapeutic constructions will be transferred to the industry. The Applicant will receive numerous scientific trainings from the experts in macromolecules and medicinal chemistry, molecular biology and industrial technology as well as additional trainings on project management and funding, public dissemination of results, presenting and teaching. The trainings and the implementation of this project (knowledge, skills, papers, patents, etc.) will help the Applicant to be efficiently integrated into the European and international science at highest level.


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Funded by the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme
of the European Union