Project: Targeted multifunctional nanoemulsions to interrupt metastasis progression

Acronym METASTARG (Reference Number: JTC2018-045)
Duration 01/06/2019 - 31/12/2022
Project Topic Metastases are the major cause of death in cancer patients with solid tumors. In Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC), highly metastatic locally and in distal organs, the 5-year mean survival is lower than 5% in the metastatic setting. Occult micrometastases (OM) are small clusters of metastatic cells, and can only be detected by highly invasive molecular methods, remaining largely untreated and eventually leading to the formation of macroscopic metastases. Making use of nanotechnology, we propose the use of a novel type of nanoemulsions, sphingomyelin nanoemulsions (SN), and followed a unique patient-driven approach to identify novel targets that can be exploited to surface-decorate SN, for the development of Nanoemulsions to Interrupt Metastasis Progression (NIMPs), allowing ultrasensitive detection and elimination of OM. We have developed SN that are easy to manufacture, stable, non-toxic, and can incorporate active ingredients and radionuclides, and be surface-decorated with ligands for targeting purposes. We have also implemented a very innovative patient-driven strategy to identify novel receptors characteristic of metastatic cancer cells for surface-decoration of SN and targeting OM, consisting in performing a molecular analysis of metastatic cancer cells isolated from the blood of patients with metastatic cancer (Circulating Tumor Cells, CTCs). This allowed us to identify TAS1R3 (Taste receptor type 1 member 3). We have successfully decorated SN with lactisole, a molecule that interacts with TAS1R3, and observed an improved interaction of our targeted SN with metastatic cancer cells. In this project, we propose a series of actions to i) optimize our technology to develop NIMPs with the ultimate aim of improving patient survival, ii) generate the proof-of-concept for NIMPS activity in relevant in vitro and in vivo models representative of the micrometastatic situation in NSCLC, and iii) advance in the translation of NIMPs to a clinical setting.
Website visit project website
Network EuroNanoMed III
Call Joint Transnational Call (2018)

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 Consorcio Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red, M.P. (CIBER) Coordinator Spain
2 Aptus Biotech Partner Spain
3 Internattional Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory (INL) Partner
4 Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori (INDT) Partner Italy
5 Holochem Partner France
6 Institute of Physical Chemistry “Ilie Murgulescu” of the Romanian Academy Partner Romania