Scientific activity is focused on the design of targeted entities, namely lipid- or polymeric-based nanosystems for drug and nucleic acid delivery, addressing the impact on the tumor microenvironment and cancer cells, both at the cellular and molecular level. This also involves the generation of novel antitumor strategies involving different gene therapy approaches, either per se or in combination with chemotherapeutic agents.
The main goals of the group point towards the identification and validation of target proteins overexpressed in tumors associated with clear unmet medical needs, combined with the demonstration of their importance for the tumorigenic process. We believe that this strategy will enable to establish the mechanism of action of the targeted strategies the members of the group have been working on, either with single or drug combinations. It will ultimately overcome the challenges posed by drug resistance and metastasis, thus leading to decrease of overall tumor burden and relapse as well, clearly benefiting cancer patients.
To further support the achievement of the referred scientific goals, and increase the translational potential of the generated knowledge, the involvement of researchers from hospitals and clinicians will be fostered from the early stages of the projects. This will be crucial to support the identified target proteins as markers for drug targeting, namely in patients-derived samples.
CANCEL STEM - Tackling CANcer STEM CELls: a challenge and an opportunity to advance in anti-cancer therapy. COMPETE2020. PI: João Nuno Moreira.
NanoDoxer: Towards a single therapy with a synergistic drug combination against triple negative breast cancer and neuroblastoma by nucleolin-mediated multicellular targeting. EURONANOMED II (ERANET). PI: João Nuno Moreira.
ODD4PEGASEMP: PEGASEMP™ as an orphan drug for the treatment of rare diseases - a curative therapy for mesothelioma. CENTRO2020. PI: João Nuno Moreira.
Development of an innovative nanosystem to mediate a combined and multi-target therapeutic strategy to hepatocellular carcinoma”. POCI-01-0145-FEDER-30916 (FCT - Foundation for Science and Technology); 2018-2021; PI: Henrique Faneca.
Development of an innovative targeted-nanoparticle formulation for combined gene therapy and chemotherapy application in hepatocellular carcinoma. IF/01007/2015 (FCT Investigator Program — Foundation for Science and Technology); 2017-2021; PI: Henrique Faneca.