UB researchers awarded AGAUR-LLAVOR grant to design new compounds to fight resistance to colorectal cancer treatments

The University of Barcelona, through its technology and innovation transfer office the Bosch i Gimpera Foundation, has been awarded a €20,000 grant for a project led by Dr Sonia Forcales, of the Department of Pathology and Experimental Therapy of the UB Faculty of Medicine and Health Science, to design new compounds that will help prevent resistance to chemotherapy treatment for colorectal cancer.

This is this third most common type of cancer and makes up 10% of all cases worldwide. In fact, more than 900,000 people died of this disease in 2020. Faced with this clinical challenge, chemotherapy is the benchmark treatment. But nearly 50% of patients become resistant to these drugs.

In this context, the UB project aims to identify compounds that block a protein involved in DNA repair, which has been proven to play a key role in how cells respond to chemotherapy. With this goal, researchers analysed various molecular libraries in silico, using computer simulations, to find compounds with the potential to block this protein.

With this new project, Dr Cristina Moreta will conduct several in vitro and in vivo proof-of-concept experiments to confirm whether the combination of the compounds identified in silico and chemotherapy help improve treatment of advanced colorectal cancer.

The project, with reference number 2021 LLAV 00085, has received a Knowledge Industry Grant in the category ‘Llavor grants for innovative projects with the potential for being incorporated into the production sector’.

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