Riding a `Trojan horse` against cancer

Title Riding a `Trojan horse` against cancer
Acronym TROJAN
Website http://www.krol-lab.sggw.pl/
Start date 2021-01-01
End date 2022-06-30
Sponsor European Research Council - Proof of Concept (ERC-PoC)
Institution Department of Cancer Biology, Institute of Biology, Warsaw University of Life Sciences SGGW

Associated cell lines

Project Description

New therapeutic approaches have led to significant improvements in cancer treatment, but none have been able to overcome the limited efficacy of solid tumor treatment due to poor tumor delivery and the presence of hypoxic tumor cells. Macrophages represent a promising vesicle to deliver cancer therapeutics to solid tumors as they are continuously recruited into the tumor mass, even the most hypoxic regions. Our pioneering research demonstrated that macrophages are able to take up ferritins loaded with anti-cancer drugs, creating Macrophage-Drug Conjugates (MDCs), and transfer these to cancer cells and kill them, a phenomenon we named TRAIN. In my ongoing ERC STARTING GRANT PROJECT ‘MCHAP’, we have proven that MDCs can be used as a ‘Trojan horse’ to efficiently deliver drugs directly to the cancer cells via TRAIN. Now we aim to turn the MDC technology into a COMMERCIAL and SOCIAL VALUE PROPOSITION by confirming our findings in a PDX model, which is crucial to raise interest of and establish a co-development (or licensing) deal with big pharma’s to realize commercialization and clinical uptake of our IP-protected MDC technology. During the ERC PoC project, we determine the optimal efficacy of MDC delivery, examine the concentration of the drug delivered to the tumor and other organs, validate the efficacy of MDC delivery in PDX mice after MDC treatment,and optimize our business case. This project will thus provide PROOF OF CONCEPT for the efficacy and pharmacokinetics of, and establish the viability, feasibility, commercialization and overall direction for our innovative MDC technology. This project will substantially contribute to bring our MDC technology to the market and in clinical practice, where our MDC technology has the promising potential to improve prognosis of cancer patients, improve the performance of anti-cancer drugs, and reduce healthcare costs. THE NEW, INNOVATIVE MDC TECHNOLOGY CAN THUS REALIZE SIGNIFICANT BENEFITS FOR OUR SOCIETY AND OUR ECONOMY.