The last decade's basic and clinical oncology research has revealed a number of so far unrecognised regulating responses (e.g. HIF-1) in cells exposed to hypoxia. These processes have been proven highly important for embryonic development and survival and seem to have a major impact on tumour progression and resistance to radiotherapy and certain types of chemotherapy. Because of their strong over-expression in solid cancer tumours in comparison to adjacent normal tissue of these processes, this new knowledge may open a therapeutic window for cancer treatment by utilising hypoxia-responsive processes as drug targets.
Major EU stakeholders in academic research and industry will therefore explore and validate these new molecular targets as a necessary step in the preclinical development of innovative new diagnostics and treatment.
Our committee has identified the outstanding basic problems to be solved over the first 2 to 3 years in order to allow a successful drug development. These include: dissection of relevant steps in cancer cell response to hypoxia, development of the technology platform needed, further identification and characterisation ofmarker/target molecules, and initial in vitro drug development. Our own mid-term evaluation will then select which hypoxic processes may be suitable as targets for cancer-specific treatment.
Simultaneously, we will study diagnostic tagging and therapeutic strategies leading up to a selection process of promising compounds to be further developed after the end of the project period. The new treatments will be developed along two lines: targeting known cytostatics towards the newly discovered hypoxia-responsive molecules and searching for so far unused compounds, preferably toxic to pathways active during hypoxia. The final effort will be to ensure continued (EU) industry utilisation of our results.
Fields of science
Call for proposal
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Funding SchemeIP - Integrated Project