CORDIS - EU research results

Immune DIREcted and Cancer-selective immunoTherapy

Project description

Teaching the immune system to recognise cancer tricks

Immunotherapy is a rapidly expanding field of cancer treatment that aims to ‘awaken’ the immune system to fight cancer. The aim of the EU-funded I-DireCT project is to train young researchers to develop novel ideas towards the next generation of immunotherapeutics. Researchers will receive multidisciplinary training in biomedical and physical sciences as well as in drug research and development. One of the project objectives is to generate delivery systems capable of releasing the active therapeutic only at the tumour site, thereby minimising side effects. Moreover, the project will advance existing immunotherapy antibodies and cytokines to synergistically stimulate T cell immunity against cancer.


I-DireCT is a European Industrial Doctorate (EID) training network designed to provide training and carry out breakthrough research on the rapidly expanding and high impact field of cancer immunotherapy in a carefully integrated academic and inter-sectoral programme. Hereby, we aim to develop next-generation immunotherapeutics and deliver a set of early stage researchers uniquely qualified for a career in academia and/or industry.

Current immunomodulatory antibodies that target pivotal immune checkpoints have revolutionized the field of oncology. However, off-tumor activity limits their application. The objective of I-Direct is to address this issue by 1. developing innovative bispecific antibodies and immunocytokines with tumor-restricted immunostimulatory effects and 2. developing optimized delivery systems to ensure optimal timed release of bio-active drug. Hereto, I-DireCT combines state-of-the-art industrial design of nanotech-based drug formulations with innovative academic and industrial immunotherapeutic concepts into the next-generation of cancer immunotherapeutics.

At the core of I-DireCT is its training objective to offer a cutting-edge multidisciplinary training programme that will enable outstanding young scientists to generate breakthrough ideas and assume leading positions in academia and industry. This training programme includes an array of disciplines, ranging from biomedical sciences (e.g. immunology, antibody engineering) and physical sciences (e.g. chemistry, material science) to drug design & development.

Industrial partners are central to the programme and provide pivotal inter-sectoral expertise on how to translate scientific discoveries into commercial reality, with each ESR being appointed at an inter-sectoral partner for 18 months, as well as through additional secondments. Further, I-Direct will enable long-term multi-disciplinary research and fosters bilateral co-operations between academia and industry.


Net EU contribution
€ 922 291,25
9713 GZ Groningen

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Noord-Nederland Groningen Overig Groningen
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 922 291,25

Participants (4)