Bio-orthogonal catalysis for cancer therapy (THERACAT)

THERACAT is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie European Training Network (MSCA-ITN-ETN) aiming to train a new generation of researchers on the innovative topic of bio-orthogonal catalysis for cancer therapy

The development of novel cancer therapies is a major challenge for academic research and pharmaceutical industries. Although the recent progress in traditional treatments such as surgery and chemotherapy improved the clinical outcome of cancer patients, there is a strong need for new and effective approaches as well as for a new generation of young scientists trained to tackle these challenges from a multidisciplinary perspective. THERACAT establishes an international training programme focused on the development of catalysis-based approaches towards the cure of cancer. In this strategy nano- and micro-particles bearing a catalytic unit are delivered to the tumour site and subsequently non-active prodrugs are administered to the patient. The prodrugs are non-toxic and therefore generate limited side effects. Only at the tumour site the catalytic particles convert the prodrugs into active anticancer compounds that generate a local and strong effect, as single catalytic species can uncage a large number of drugs. This approach presents several advantages on the classical drug delivery paradigm including limited side effects and prolonged efficacy.

The researchers of the network will acquire a solid state-of-the-art multidisciplinary scientific training in this field of research, covering from basic science to industrial applications, which will enable them to generate new scientific knowledge of the highest impact. In addition, they will receive a practical training on transferable skills in order to increase their employability perspectives and to qualify them to access to responsibility job positions in the private and public sectors.

The final aim of the THERACAT network is to consolidate Europe as the world leader in novel catalysis-based approach for cancer therapy.