UZH researches new cancer therapy

Zurich – Researchers at the University of Zurich (UZH) are developing new cancer therapeutics. The so-called radiotheranostics are designed to localize and eliminate tumours at the same time. The project is being funded by the European Innovation Council with almost 4 million euros under the name SMARTDrugs.

Researchers at the University of Zurich (UZH) are working with four other European teams to develop a new species of drug that can be used to treat particularly aggressive types of cancer. According to a press release, these radiotheranostics should make tumors both visible and treatable at the same time. The researchers are combining diagnostic and therapeutic radionuclides in a single supramolecular compound. This is produced by self-organization, a process taken from nature.

"Our aim is to develop supramolecular compounds for the treatment of two aggressive types of cancer that are associated with a very poor prognosis for affected patients: Lung and brain tumors," Jason Holland, Professor of Medical Radiochemistry at the Institute of Chemistry and head of the research project at UZH, is quoted as saying in the press release. The large and very complex novel therapeutic molecules are to be used in the future to treat lung cancer in adults and brain tumors in children. The five-year survival rates for these particularly aggressive types of cancer are currently only 15 and 5 percent respectively.

In addition to UZH, the research project called SMARTDrugs involves the Technical University of Munich, King's College London, the Center for Cooperative Research in Biomaterials in San Sebastian, the Princess Maxima Centrum and the University Medical Center in Utrecht. Following the successful laboratory tests, clinical trials of the radiotheranostics are to take place in the British and Dutch facilities. The European Innovation Council (EIC) is funding the project with almost 4 million euros. ce/eb

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