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.
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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.