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DCU to lead €4million EU project to underpin new treatments for cancer and genetic diseases

DCU to lead €4million EU project to underpin new treatments for cancer and genetic diseases

DCU is to lead a major new project to support the development of new treatments for many human diseases, including cancers and genetic diseases, and enhance the skills and training of researchers across Europe. 

NATURE-ETN will train 15 early stage researchers in seven European countries in skills and technology relating to nucleic acids, a field that is underpinning new drugs being developed by pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies around the world. Nucleic acids are the building blocks of life but can be chemically designed to find and connect with specific targets within cells, making them useful for modifying cellular activities or as a vehicle for precisely delivering drugs.

The project will train the early stage researchers in the use of tools such as nucleic acid immunotherapy, gene editing, DNA crystallography and epigenetic DNA sequencing technology, enabling the researchers to develop more powerful nucleic-acid-focused therapies.

Dr. Andrew Kellett, Associate Professor of Inorganic and Medicinal Chemistry in DCU School of Chemical Sciences, and Funded Investigator of the SSPC and CÚRAM SFI Research Centres, is the lead researcher on NATURE-ETN.

It is a European Training Network (ETN) project funded from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions. Dr. Kellett becomes one of the few European scientists to successfully coordinate two H2020 ITN networks.

Dr. Kellett said:

“The training that researchers will receive through this network led by DCU will help fulfil the need for highly qualified experts in the biochemical and biopharmaceutical industries.”

The ETN will use recent breakthrough discoveries in epigenetic manipulation, gene editing, small molecule DNA targeting, and rapid gene/transgene detection to extend the boundaries of molecular medicine and provide new tools for treating cancer and monogenetic diseases. The early stage researchers trained within NATURE-ETN will acquire the necessary knowledge and skillset to fill high-functioning industry jobs, but also to maintain and advance Europe’s competitiveness and innovation capacity.”

NATURE-ETN will start in April 2020. It is coordinated by DCU.

The other institutions in the network are:

Ludwig-Maximilian-Universität München

University of Oxford

Université de Recherche Paris Sciences et Lettres

Ustav Organicke Chemie a Biochemie (IOCB) Prague

University of Reading

University of Warsaw

ATDbio Ltd

Baseclick GmbH

National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT) Ltd

Accelopment AG