An EU grant worth €2.5 million has been awarded to the 'I-DireCT' research network, headed by Professor Edwin Bremer from the department of Haematology at the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG). Bremer will use the funding to conduct research into developing a new type of immunotherapy for cancer. The aim is to develop new drugs that are only active at the site of the tumour. This grant will allow the network to appoint 10 young researchers. The network itself is an international collaboration between 2 universities and 3 biotech companies.
The past years have seen important breakthroughs in the field of immunotherapy, resulting in the long-term survival of a subset of patients. However, current drugs are only effective for specific types of cancer and do not work for all patients. In addition, even if a tumour is successfully treated, patients often suffer from side-effects of the drugs.
The 'I-DireCT’ research network headed by Bremer aims to develop new immunotherapeutic drugs that will only be active at the site of the tumour. The team hopes that this strategy will make the human immune system more effective in fighting the cancer, while causing minimal damage to other parts of the body.
The EU grant has been allocated as part of the Marie Sklodowska-Curie European Industrial Doctorate (EID) programme, which aims to give novice researchers a chance to improve their research skills, work with established research teams and elevate their own career prospects. Grants are awarded on the understanding that the projects involve several organizations from different European countries and that close collaboration will develop between research institutes and businesses.
Other parties working on the current project are the University of Würzburg (Germany) and biotech companies Inocure (Czech Republic), SurfLay (Germany) and Kahr Medical (Israel). More information will be posted shortly at: www.i-direct-itn.eu.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 813871.