The European Union has granted 4 M euro to Martine Smit and Jacqueline
van Muijlwijk (Medicinal Chemistry, AIMMS, Faculty of Science, Vrije
Universiteit Amsterdam) and colleagues from academia and SMEs from the
Netherlands, France, Germany, Spain, UK and Switzerland to train young
scientist to become experts in oncogenic GPCR research.
ONCORNET2.0 builds on the success
of ONCORNET (Oncogenic GPCR Network of Excellence and Training), a
first-in-kind ITN in GPCR drug discovery that has successfully delivered
scientific advance and training to talented early stage researchers (ESRs) (www.oncornet.eu). ONCORNET2.0 will
incorporate recent scientific and technological breakthroughs to understand and
target two oncogenic G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs); the chemokine
receptors CXCR4 and ACKR3 (CXCR7). These are highly
expressed in multiple tumours but their role in cancer progression remains
poorly understood. We will develop new strategies for CXCR4/ACKR3 modulation
and investigate their effects on oncogenic responses, to yield key new
knowledge and potential leads for drug development.
ONCORNET2.0 will bring
together the leading GPCR research groups in Europe and will educate the next
generation of young researchers (15 PhD students) by a multi-disciplinary
training. This programme integrates both research (e.g. drug discovery,
proteomics, imaging) and transferable (e.g. entrepreneurship, academic writing,
media training) skill sets through blended learning. This will ensure that the
ESRs can effectively operate in today’s drug discovery programs and will
increase European competitiveness in the field of drug discovery.
(ONCOgenic GPCR Network of Excellence and Training) consortium
BV strives for
early detection of diseases and better understanding of disease mechanisms,
focusing on cancer, infections and age-related diseases. QVQ has extensive experience in the fields of
generation, production, purification and conjugation of small camelid-derived single domain antibodies (VHH or nanobodies). VHH
have proven to be very suitable for targeting GPCRs like CXCR4 and ACKR3.
As a beneficiary partner in ONCORNET2.0, QVQ has the opportunity to collaborate closely with leading GPCR research groups and industrial partners in Europe. ONCORNET2.0 will allow QVQ to expand its portfolio of VHH lead molecules that specifically target CXCR4 and ACKR3 (CXCR7) for detection and therapeutic modulation of their oncogenic activities. Together with prof. Martine Smit (VU University in Amsterdam), QVQ will train one PhD student (ESR, early stage researcher) and host secondments of ESRs from academic partners.
Martine Smit, Jacqueline van Muijlwijk, Rob Leurs, Iwan de Esch (Vrije
Universiteit Amsterdam, NL),
Steve Hill, Meritxell Canals, Steve Briddon (University of Nottingham,
Philippe Marin, Thierry Durroux, Sébastien Granier, Jean Philippe Pin
Martin Lohse (Max-Delbruck-Centrum für Molekulare Medizin, DE),