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Country: Spain


29 Projects, page 1 of 6
  • Funder: EC Project Code: 101025901
    Overall Budget: 172,932 EURFunder Contribution: 172,932 EUR

    Metastatic prostate cancer (mPC) is a lethal disease. Androgen deprivation therapy is the mainstay of patient care. In addition, DNA repair defects is a novel therapeutic target in mPC. However, resistances invariably arise, triggered most of the times by tumor genomic evolution. Liquid biopsy has emerged as a tool to non-invasively profile tumor genomics over time. Beyond circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) and circulating tumor cells (CTC), small extracellular vesicles, known as exosomes, have been identified to contain tumor genomic material. Over the last years, I have developed a method to pursue analysis of tumor genomic material from exosomes at a very low cost. The analysis of exoDNA/RNA is a promising tool that represents a new non-invasive, sensitive and very informative new method for PC monitoring. In this project, I aim to integrate the genomic analysis of exoDNA/RNA together with ctDNA and CTCs in advanced PC to:1) Identify prognostic signatures for clinically-relevant patient stratification; 2) Define circulating predictive signatures of drug response/resistance; and 3) Validate biomarkers of therapy response for selection of subsequent lines of treatment. Therefore, this fellowship would allow me to take a significant step towards the implementation of this new technology in the study of mPC genomics and mechanisms of response/resistance to novel targeted drugs. Furthermore, I will be able to integrate my research into clinical trials and, ultimately, impact personalized patient care.

  • Funder: EC Project Code: 837900
    Overall Budget: 172,932 EURFunder Contribution: 172,932 EUR

    Prostate cancer is the 2nd most common cancer in the western world. The advanced stage, metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC), is a lethal disease. Understanding inter-patient genomic heterogeneity renders the opportunity to advance towards personalised patient care. Prostate cancer is a disease primarily driven by the androgen receptor (AR) pathway; however, the applicant prior work contributed to identifying 1) that up to 25% of mCRPC harbour defects in DNA damage repair (DDR) genes, and 2) that some of these mCPRC patients with DDR defects are sensitive to targeted treatment with PARP inhibitors. In the proposed research plan, we aim to exploit the cross-regulation between AR and DDR pathways to optimize precise therapeutic options for mCRPC patients. To achieve the objectives, the applicant will use models generated at the host through CRISRP/Cas9 to pursue functional studies and characterise how defects in ATM impact DDR function and sensitivity to inhibitors of PARP, ATR and DNA-PK. We hypothesize such sensitivity would be modulated by co-targeting of the AR pathway and by second events such as TP53 loss-of-function. ChIP-Seq assays will be pursued to identify genes co-regulated by the androgen receptor and PARP-1, to identify potential synthetic vulnerabilities. Then, mCRPC patient’s biopsies acquired in clinical practice from patients receiving AR-targeting therapies will be used to study how AR inhibition modulate transcriptional regulation of DDR pathways, to inform the optimal design of combination therapies. These data would be correlated with genomics and immunofluorescence tests of homologous recombination function, in order to refine patient stratification in the clinic. The proposed research will be conducted in parallel to a personalised training and career development plans, designed for the applicant to achieve a position of academic independence as physician-scientist before the end of the fellowship at the host institute.

  • Funder: EC Project Code: 713551
    Overall Budget: 147,750 EURFunder Contribution: 147,750 EUR

    Despite ever-increasing investments in the development of new treatments, many cancers remain incurable. One reason is that most current therapies target redundant functions around which tumour cells can build resistance. We focus instead on a unique and essential cellular function: the Myc oncogene, deregulated in more than 70% of human cancers. Targeting Myc has long been considered unfeasible because of potentially catastrophic side effects. Against this dogma, using a Myc inhibitor called Omomyc, we showed that Myc inhibition displays extraordinary therapeutic benefit in various mouse models of cancer (e.g. lung, brain, pancreas and skin) and causes only mild and reversible side effects. Importantly, no resistance to Omomyc has been observed, and Omomyc constitutes the best Myc inhibitor known to date. Omomyc has so far been used only as a transgene and proof of principle. However, thanks to the ERC-2013-CoG n° 617473, we now have evidence that the Omomyc peptide has cell-penetrating activity, and reaches lung and brain upon nasal administration, where it exerts its anti-tumorigenic activity in cancer cells (data protected by a patent application EP13382167.8). Thus, the Omomyc peptide could become the first clinically viable direct Myc inhibitor to treat lung, brain and other types of cancer. Our overall project encompasses the preclinical development of the Omomyc peptide to reach Phase I/II clinical trials, at which point the technology will be transferred to a pharmaceutical company for further commercialization. Hence, in this ERC Proof of Concept application, we propose to achieve specific, essential early milestones for the pharmaceutical development of the Omomyc product that will de-risk it and noticeably increase its value and the probability of reaching the market.

  • Funder: EC Project Code: 665671
    Overall Budget: 150,000 EURFunder Contribution: 150,000 EUR

    Global cancer market is growing at a CAGR of 6.9% with an estimated value of $81bn in 2016. Although the huge R&D investment observed in the past years in the development of new treatments, there is still lack on an effective treatment in many tumour types. In particular, the median survival for glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), a high-grade brain tumour affecting 23,000 patients a year in US and EU, is 14 months and its 5-yr survival less than 5%. It is therefore urgent to develop more effective treatments against this fatal disease. There are two main reasons that explain the lack of success for the current treatments: In one hand, Cancer Stem cells (CSCs) are responsible from tumour initiation, maintenance, relapse and metastasis. On the other hand, the tumour has mechanisms to repress the patient’s immune system that attacks tumour cells. Our team has discovered a molecular pathway critical in the regulation of CSCs and the immune checkpoint. The project presented here entails the proof of concept and pre-clinical development of a humanized antibody blocking this pathway. At the end of the ERC POC project we will have a patent protected and fully humanized antibody active in vivo and in vitro and ready to enter Phase I clinical trials in humans to continue its commercialization process. The forecasted annual peak revenue for this therapeutic antibody in GBM is $590M with additional sales coming from line extensions in other cancer indications. With the ERC POC project we are dramatically increasing the commercial value of the therapeutic antibody, transforming an R&D finding (a pathway is critical for cancer) into a potential new solution to patients (a therapeutic antibody). Hence, we are de-risking the product, advancing it through the commercialization path and creating a product and a commercial data package with a good expectative in the cancer market that is ready to be transferred to a spin-off company.

  • Funder: EC Project Code: 813132
    Overall Budget: 148,875 EURFunder Contribution: 148,875 EUR

    Current cancer therapies target redundant cellular functions often compensated for by cancer cells, resulting in resistance to treatment. Here we propose an innovative approach to inhibit Myc, a non-redundant and “most-wanted” therapeutic target for human cancer. Targeting Myc has long been considered unfeasible because of the potentially catastrophic side effects in normal tissues. Against this dogma, we showed that Myc inhibition by Omomyc, a Myc mutant designed by Dr. Soucek, has a dramatic therapeutic impact in multiple mouse models of cancer, while causing only limited and reversible side effects. Critically, there is no emergence of resistance. Thanks to the ERC-2013-CoG n° 617473, we discovered the unexpected cell-penetrating properties of the purified Omomyc polypeptide. Moreover, we found that it is anti-tumorigenic after local (intranasal) delivery to mouse models of lung and brain tumors, and could therefore become the first clinically-viable direct Myc inhibitor. With this ERC PoC, we propose to develop a new drug based on an Omomyc variant that enables systemic treatment of several cancer types including lymphoma, breast, and melanoma. In all these cancers Myc contributes to multiple aspects of tumorigenesis including immune suppression. At the end of this project we will have a patent protected therapeutic polypeptide active in vitro and in vivo and ready to enter clinical trials Phase I/II in patients and to continue its commercialization. The forecasted peak revenue for such first-in-class drug in those indications reaches 2.612 M€ annually. With this ERC PoC project we will achieve essential milestones to develop this innovative therapeutic polypeptide by establishing the feasibility, including a commercial data package and cost estimations for the industrial production. Passing these milestones will de-risk the product and increase its value and probability of reaching the market by making it ready to be transferred to a spin-off company.

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