Nanovehicles who can beat cancer

Galician scientists develop Nanovers project, funded by Ignicia programme from Galician Innovation Agency (Gain)

In the field of the fight against cancer, different branches of innovation that seek alternative solutions arise. Personalized medicine is an example of this; it consists of adapting medical treatment to the individual characteristics of each patient.

In 2013, the project “Nanoevers, solutions for personalized medicine”, from the Institute of Sanitary Research (IDIS) of Santiago de Compostela, arose under this prism. It is the result of a team of researchers led by Dr. María de la Fuente Freire, and formed by Rafael López López, Abi Judit Vázquez Ríos, Ana Belén Dávila Ibañez and Gloria García López.


Nanosystems as an application of personalized medicine

The laboratory is developing its own technology: a new type of very biocompatible and versatile nanosystems, which make it possible to associate different types of therapeutic molecules and act as a vehicle for drugs. In addition, the materials they use are cheap, safe and easy to produce, so they can be adapted to the industrialisation process.

According to de la Fuente, there are currently very potent molecules such as peptides, proteins and nucleic acids that cannot be administered alone because they would not be effective. “Nanoevers offers an opportunity to all these molecules that need a vehicle to be transferred to the clinic”, explains the doctor.

“Nanoevers offers an opportunity to all these molecules that need a vehicle to be transferred to the clinic”

The nanosystems allow the drugs to reach their place of maximum effectiveness: “We are betting on new, more efficient therapies based on non-conventional molecules”. The team had a very clear roadmap: to work for translation, so that either their project would have application for the ultimate benefit of the patients.

Triple application

Some research groups or pharmacists have therapeutic molecules with a lot of potential, but there are factors that limit their translation. In this sense, Nanoevers seeks to offer on-demand solutions that cover this type of problem, providing these molecules with a vehicle that facilitates their assimilation.

In order to extend this technology to research laboratories, previously defined nanodelivery kits with packaged products are launched. In this way, laboratories or pharmaceutical companies that want to test the technology can do so without the need for interaction; simply by acquiring a kit and applying it on their own.

Together with these two goals, there is a long-term goal related to R&D&I: the development of nanomedicines towards clinical application for the resolution of needs that are not covered. “Right now we are doing solid and strong proofs of concept in preclinical models, but to really get to the clinic you have to go into regulatory and statistical issues,” explains de la Fuente.

Participation in the IGNICIA call

In March of this year, the project obtained 500.000 euros in funding from the Ignicia programme of the Galician Innovation Agency (GAIN), whose objective is to support the transfer of research generated in research centres to the market.

De la Fuente defines participation in the call as “key” to promote the translation of its technology to the purchased one: “Participating meant a change of important perspective and the beginning of a more product-oriented way of working, as well as the incorporation of more professional and experienced human resources”.

Collaboration makes it possible to cover a series of needs that, in the doctor’s words, would otherwise be impossible, such as patentability and regulatory studies. The doctor explains that there are no other calls that support this type of studies, and it is key to cover these needs in order to achieve its objective: to transfer the technology to market so that society can benefit from the research generated around it.


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