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   Infocentre

Published: 10 November 2017  
Related theme(s) and subtheme(s)
Health & life sciencesCommunicable diseases  |  Molecular biology
Research policyHorizon 2020
Countries involved in the project described in the article
Portugal  |  Spain
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Breaking down barriers to develop new anticancer drugs

Infectious diseases and cancer are the focus of the EU-funded project INPACT, which combines the expertise of both academic and industrial partners in protein engineering to develop new drug leads.

A woman in a facial mask performs a tests in a lab

© jk1991 - fotolia.com

As knowledge advances and technology progresses in protein engineering – i.e. the manipulation of protein structures to produce desired properties in them – a huge opportunity has appeared on the horizon for new-generation drug design.

The EU-funded INPACT project is using this technology and expertise in protein engineering to develop new drugs that target both cancer and infectious diseases. The project consortium is made-up of partners from academia and industry with specialised proprietary anticancer technology and know-how.

The exchange of knowledge between them will lead to new techniques for the trans-barrier delivery of drugs and bacterial destruction.

INPACT aims to produce molecules derived from two or more different organisms, created in a laboratory. The molecules are known as chimeras. These chimeras will combine anti-tumoural or anti-microbial molecules with antibodies which are able to bind selectively to cells and/or transport a dissolved substance actively across cell membranes.

The project team will use these chimeras to develop novel drugs with higher selectivity, a lower likelihood of developing resistance, and with improved delivery compared to the anticancer drugs currently available on the market. These will then be tested in-lab on cancer tumour cells and evaluated accordingly.

If successful, INPACT will develop innovative drugs able to kill bacteria and tumour cells as well as break through the blood-brain barrier. This means they could be capable of directly targeting and treating brain tumours and brain-hidden pathogens. These revolutionary developments could lead to potentially life-changing new drugs for cancer patients, among others, improving and saving innumerable lives.

Project details

  • Project acronym: INPACT
  • Participants: Portugal (Coordinator), Spain
  • Project N°: 644167
  • Total costs: € 1 390 500
  • EU contribution: € 850 500
  • Duration: February 2015 to January 2019

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Countries
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  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Botswana
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cambodia
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czech Republic
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Faroe Islands
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  Georgia