Three VHIR researchers receive three important European grants

Dr. Simó Schwartz Jr, head of the CIBBIM-Nanomedicine Drug Delivery and Targeting group, Dr. Diego Arango, head of the CIBBIM-Nanomedicine Biomedical Research in Digestive Tumors group, and Dr. Mar Hernández-Guillamón, principal investigator of the Neurovascular Diseases group at Vall d’Hebron Institute of Research (VHIR), have been granted with three important European projects. The first two granted by EuroNanoMed and the third one by EU Joint Programme – Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND). VHIR’s researchers will receive nearly 310,000 euros for leading or participating in these projects.

Dr. Schwartz Jr will coordinate the project “(Nano) systems with active targeting to sensitize colorectal cancer stem cells to anti-tumoral treatment”, for three years. The aim of the study is to develop a targeted nanomedicine against colorectal cancer stem cells, which are associated with the resistance to therapy and the development of metastasis. VHIR researchers have developed an original model based in fluorescence to detect these aggressive and resistance cells. Thanks to this model, researchers will use specific targeting for cancer stem cells receptors, overexpressed in colorectal cancer stem cells. In Dr. Schwartz’s project will participate researchers from the Instituto Nazionale per lo Studio e la Cura dei Tumori- Fondazione G. Pascale, Italy; the University of Lisbon, Portugal; the Centre Nationale de Recherche Sicentifique, France; and the French pharmaceutical company Cellvax SAS.

Nanomedicine will be also present in the project in which participates Dr. Arango, entitled “Targeting tumor microenvironment by a translational multivalent nanomedicine: towards an effective anticancer combination immunotherapy”. The goal of this project, that will last three years, is to develop a highly innovative and advanced chemically-defined nanoplatform in order to have a safe multivalent nanomedicine able to combine the effect of a cytotoxic drug at cancer site with a balanced and multi-targeted immunotherapy. The overall outcome may constitute a real hope for patients with metastatic cancer disease. The leader of the project is Dr. Verónique Préat, from the Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium, and the partners, apart from Dr. Diego Arango, are scientists from the University of Lisbon and the pharmaceutical company Technophage SA.

Finally, Dr. Hernández-Guillamón will participate for the next three years in the project “Interplay of amyloid and ischemia and their influence on blood-brain barrier, amyloid transportation systems and neurodegeneration in cerebral amyloid anigiopathy”. The study will be carried out by a team of pharmacologic biotechnologists, radiopharmacologists and experts in blood-brain-barrier, imaging techniques, biomarkers, Alzheimer’s disease and stroke. This multidisciplinary team will offer a novel perception of neurodegeneration, studying the influence of ischemic stroke on amyloid pathology and vice versa. The consortium is coordinated by Prof. Dr. Marc Fatar, from the University of Heidelberg, Germany, and has as partners, apart from Dr. Hernández-Guillamón, researchers from the Université d’Artois, in France; the University Medical Center of Utrecht, the Netherlands; and the Saarland University of Homburg, Germany.