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ET-PA — Result In Brief

Project ID: 18191
Funded under: FP6-SME
Country: Italy

Novel antibiotics to fight infection and cancer

An EU-funded initiative designed novel anti-infective and anti-cancer agents. The newly developed delivery technology is applicable to most pathogens.
Novel antibiotics to fight infection and cancer
Antibiotics are substances that kill or halt the growth of pathogens. Ongoing resistance of bacteria to currently available antibiotics poses a serious threat to modern medicine and obviates the need for continuous development of novel antimicrobial substances.

The 'Enabling techniques for the development of a novel class of protein antibiotics' (ET-PA) project generated a technology platform that allowed the design and construction of novel antibiotic molecules – termed REPP. This development was based on the well known technology of cell-penetrating peptides (CPP) that facilitate the delivery of various molecules – from chemical compounds to DNA or RNA - into the cell via direct penetration or through the process of endocytosis.

The consortium focused on the use of PP peptides to develop antibiotics as vehicles for delivering DNA-cutting restriction enzymes (RE) that introduce DNA double strand breaks in the microbial cells. The biological activity of these REPP compounds was extensively characterised and a platform was constructed for rapid translation into protein antibiotics.

This project brought together the expertise of three European small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and two research and technology development (RTD) partners that developed novel screening and validating assays for the REPP compounds. The technology behind this platform was based on inventions and development of novel CIM chromatographic purification techniques proprietary to the participating SMEs.

The power of this technology lies in the fact that the REPP principle is applicable to most pathogens. Also, by incorporating PP peptides that target the surface of specific cells it can be extended to targeting cancer cells, thus opening novel therapeutic windows.

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