A grant has been awarded to look into the feasibility of bringing to market a new therapy to treat osteosarcoma that aids bone regeneration with fewer side-effects.
The European Research Council gave the Proof of Concept grant to professor Cristina Canal from the Technical University of Catalunya’s (UPC) department of materials science and engineering who aims to bridge the gap between frontier research and the market. The news was revealed yesterday (September 22).
Osteosarcoma is a rare disease—it accounts for less than 0.2% of all cancers diagnosed—that mainly affects children and young adolescents. It accounts for 2% of all cancers diagnosed in children aged 0 to 14 years and 3% of those diagnosed in adolescents aged 15 to 19 years.
Survival of patients with osteosarcoma
Improving the survival of patients with osteosarcoma is one of the challenges faced by the medical and scientific community, as the survival rate of patients with metastatic tumors is 30%.
Standard therapy for treating osteosarcoma consists of removing the entire tumour with negative margins, that is resecting bone areas larger than the tumour itself, to make sure that no cancer cells remain at the edge of the removed tissue.
Canal will use the grant to support the development of a novel therapy for bone cancer that avoids the side-effects of conventional treatments, such as chemotherapy, and also aids bone regeneration when the tumor has been surgically resected.
The TRANSFORMER project (which stands for ‘Transforming bone cancer therapy with composite biomaterials encapsulating plasma-generated RONS’) will develop a product that combines, for the first time, biomaterials for bone regeneration with an innovative treatment based on plasma gas-treated hydrogels, which induce cancer cell death.
Canal said: “We want our technology to get to market so that one day this therapy can benefit patients.
“The grant will support developing this novel technology by preparing it for clinical development and also exploring product viability and designing a business plan to attract investors”.
Proof of Concept funding aims to facilitate exploring the innovation and commercial potential of ERC funded research. These €150,000 grants are part of the EU’s research and innovation program, Horizon Europe.
Bone cancer can affect any bone but usually develops in the long bones of the legs or upper arms. The main symptoms can include persistent bone pain that gets worse over time continuing into the night, swelling and redness over a move that can make movement difficult if the affected bone is near a joint. There can also be a noticeable lump over a bone, or weakness that can result in breaks more easily than usual.