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Strengthening of the MagBioVin Research and Innovation Team for Development of Novel Approaches for Tumour Therapy based on Nanostructured Materials

Strengthening of the MagBioVin Research and Innovation Team for Development of Novel Approaches for Tumour Therapy based on Nanostructured Materials

Periodic Report Summary 1 - MAGBIOVIN (Strengthening of the MagBioVin Research and Innovation Team for Development of Novel Approaches for Tumour Therapy based on Nanostructured Materials)

Project Context and Objectives:
Among other promising applications of nanotechnology in biomedicine, magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) have been increasingly studied since mid-1970’s for applications in life sciences, while huge nanotechnology advances in the last decade provide large impulse to this promising area. MNPs tailored for biomedical applications consist of the core particle made of some magnetic material encapsulated (coated) in non-toxic and biocompatible matrix. For some applications, coated magnetic nanoparticles can be used without any further treatment (e.g. for passive magnetic hyperthermia), but for the most other applications surface activation of MNPs is necessary. This surface activation is mainly done by organosilanes and represents MNP based platforms that can be used in a variety of biomedical applications. Using this platform with desirable magnetic characteristics and enabling further functionalization of the activated MNP with different bio-ligands (i.e. nucleic acids, proteins and antibodies) diverse applications can be achieved such as: magnetic and radionuclide targeting, cell separation, magnetic fluid hyperthermia, magnetic resonance imaging, etc.
Based on scientific topics stated above, the main goal of MagBioVin project will be reinforcement of capacities of the MagBioVin team in order to develop necessary material base and knowledge level for:

i) Development of MNP based platforms with targeted magnetic and biochemical characteristics suitable for further functionalization and biomedical applications;

ii) Development of radionuclide labeled and functionalized MNPs for cancer therapy and diagnostics;

iii) Development of magnetic nanoparticles for magnetic hyperthermia and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – synthesis, optimization and in vitro/ in vivo investigations.

One of the major MagBioVin project outcomes will be substantial strengthening of human and experimental potentials which will continue to contribute to the scientific community after the Project lifetime through several important measures:
- Enhancement of relations with stakeholders through obtaining of funding and support for innovation approach in applied oriented research.
- Attracting additional funds by taking part in EU (Horizon) and other bilateral research programs, which provide substantial basis for continued employment of staff in an absence of full governmental support, including ERA CHAIR holder.
- The continuous renewal of the research staff with young talented PhD students.

The MagBioVin strategic objectives are:

1. Qualifying for the cutting edge applied research regarding biomedical application of MNP
• Reinforcement of MagBioVin human resources in order to enable successful cutting-edge research in multidisciplinary area of biomedical applications of magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs)
• Improving material resources through provision of the new equipment critical for research and application of MNPs in biomedicine.
• Adoption and development of the state-of-the-art methodologies that are currently used in contemporary researches on application of MNPs in biomedicine

2. Integration of the Vinca Institute in ERA
• Establishing and strengthening of the firm connections with high profile European research centers
• Joining current research activities of EU strategic partners toward biomedical application of MNP
• Joint presentation of achieved results in peer reviewed journals and leading international meetings
• Preparation of common project proposals for future FP calls

3. Attaining the leading position in the WB region and high visibility at the European level
• Creating the critical mass or researchers capable of sustainable high level application oriented research
• Transfer of knowledge to stakeholders from scientific and medical community, leading to enhanced visibility and impact of the MagBioVin activities at national, regional and EU level.

4. To reinforce institutional intellectual property strategy, innovation and technology transfer potential

Project Results:
The most important activities performed in this period are listed below:

WP1. Strengthening of MagBioVin human resources
The selection procedure of the ERA Chair holder was carried out following an open, transparent and merit-based recruitment process. The advertisement for the Chair holder was posted on the euraxess/jobs, and at Prof. Dr Andrzej Szytula was selected as the best candidate for the ERA Chair position.
Prof. Szytula was informed about this decision, and he accepted the position with the starting date in the second half of October or beginning of November 2014. Unfortunately due to various commitments, as well as the necessary documents that should have been prepared, he arrived at the institute until mid-February 2015.
The delay in the arrival of ERa Chair holder has led to delays of many activities that it was necessary to performed under his leadership. Therefore, they carried out only the most necessary activities or preparing for important activities such as for example the purchase of equipment.

WP2. Provision of experimental facilities
Interviews with the device manufacturers started by WP leaders and members of MAGBIOVIN team. Bearing in mind that these techniques are new on the project and the value of investments is significant, Management Board decided to wait Era Chair holder who will define the final characteristics of the devices and finish negotiations with producers.

WP3. Adoption of Advanced Methodologies and Know-How
The beginning of the realization of this work package was planned for the fourth project month. In the first three months we started activities concerning Task 3.2. (Raising the excellence of MagBioVin team) and Task 3.3. (Accreditation of the new Center of Excellence for Nanomaterials Research and Development). Activities are implemented by four senior scientists (staff) members of the project team.

WP4. Outgoing mobility and reinforcement of international cooperation
For four months the activities were:
1. Training Marko Boskovic at the University of Technology in Beijing, which is in accordance with tasks: 4.1.3. (Structural and microstructural characterization of MNPS) and 4.1.4. (Magnetic characterization of MNPS).
2. Visit of two members of the MB (V. Spasojevic and B. Antic) University of Technology in Beijing. This visit is in compliance with Task 4.2. (Reinforcement of international cooperation) and 4.2.3. (Participation in H2020 research projects, but also other programs like bilateral collaborations, SCOPES, networking, etc.).

WP5. Dissemination and Promotion
Organization of the first workshop, 5.1.1. Advanced synthesis routes for MNPS is prepared but was postponed until elections EC Era Chair holder.
Task 5.2. Public promotions of MagBioVin project goals and activities at local and national level aimed for broader scientific and non-scientific public is done through ppt presentations in the traditional event "Researchers' Night", in Belgrade, 26. 09. 2014 .
Task 5.4. Dissemination towards universities and other stakeholder institutions. Two lectures were held at University of Technology in Beijing, China. Also the meeting with representatives of industries that produce magnets of last generation. We discussed the possibilities of bilateral cooperation and the design of the magnet which would apply to drugs tarrgeting magnetic nanoparticles. This is especially important if you take into account that China is the largest producer of strong magnets in the world.
Task 5.5. Promotion and MagBioVin team visibility enhancement by publication of research results in nationalnal and international peer reviewed scientific journals. Several scientific papers have bin send for publication.

Potential Impact:
The major MagBioVin project outcomes will be substantial strengthening of human and experimental potentials which will continue to contribute to the scientific community after the Project lifetime. The Main expected final results are:

1. Better integration and increase the visibility of the Vinca Institute in the European Research Area
This will be accomplished through the planed MagBioVin project activities, like networking with strategic partners and stakeholders through direct research collaboration, workshops, conferences and training activities. It can be expected that the established links and networks created by this project will result in sustainability of the Vinca Institute centre and its activities in the future.

2. Strengthening the human resources and material facility for the work in the highly specialized area of biomedical applications of MNPs

3. Reinforcing the contacts with the strategic partners institutions from EU which will be achieved by organizing/participating workshops and conferences with participation of their key experts will increase human potential in Serbia and WBC Region. Collaboration with strategic partners and others will result in exchange of knowledge and ideas, as well as in developing common standards and tools in the research area under consideration. Integration of the MagBioVin researchers in the ongoing EU funded project of the strategic partners, and making new contacts through participating in the collaborative work within the existing EU research networks will result in common project proposals for future EC calls. Raising of the awareness in ERA about large research potentials of the centers of excellence in the EU peripherals will be done by presenting R&D results at international events (workshops, conferences, meetings), as well as during mutual visits through staff exchange.

4. Improvement of research management will be achieved and improved through communications with scientists from Strategic partners labs and others during project activities, consultations with PAC, and in other meetings planned by the Project. Activities like: hiring of new staff, acquisition of equipment and broadening of research topics in proposed research, will certainly need an improvement in research management. Increase of manpower will enable project leaders to put more effort in management activities and give them more potential to cope with research themes, thereby increasing competitiveness of the centre on the EU level.

5. Acquisition, development and maintenance or upgrading of research equipment of MagBioVin Centre as a WB centre of competence, will be accomplished through purchasing of new equipment. The new equipment will be incorporated in the existing laboratories and it will serve to increase the overall research capability of the Institute.

6. Improved quality of research carried out by the Institute and dissemination of knowledge will be achieved by networking with laboratories and companies which support this project. The vast experience in high-quality research undertaken by them will improve research quality of our Institute and mutual research activities will be institutionalized by this project.

7. Innovation impact
The most important innovation impact is planned to be spreading awareness in WBC region regarding importance of establishing of the institutional IP strategy and policy when cooperation of public and private R&D sector is conducted. This will be achieved through collaboration with national and international Technology Transfer Centers and Intellectual Property Offices and continuous trainings of staff.

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Project information

Grant agreement ID: 621375


Closed project

  • Start date

    12 May 2014

  • End date

    11 May 2019

Funded under:


  • Overall budget:

    € 2 796 660

  • EU contribution

    € 2 243 828

Coordinated by: