VTT is searching for new drug targets for prostate cancer in the new IMI PREDECT project

Launched in 2007, the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) aims to support more efficient, earlier diagnostics and the development of better medicines for patients by removing research bottlenecks in the drug development pipeline. PREDECT, one of IMI's new projects, is developing novel models for breast, prostate and lung cancers. The Work Package 2 - coordinated by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland - focuses on target validation and improved model systems for prostate cancer.

Being the largest public-private research partnership in the pharmaceutical sector, IMI aims to speed up the development of better and safer medicines for patients. IMI represents a unique joint undertaking between the research-based pharmaceutical industry in Europe (Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations; EFPIA) and the European Union.

After completion of its 2nd call in 2010, IMI has recently announced the launch of 8 new projects. One of these, PREDECT, will develop novel and technically advanced in vivo and in vitro models for breast, prostate and lung cancers. Complex next-generation cell culture models and experimental platforms attempt to more closely mimic in vivo tumors, and a better dynamic reciprocity. These model systems will be utilized to validate therapeutic targets, gain molecular insights into therapy failure and tumor relapse, and develop novel therapeutic strategies. The project is expected to shift paradigms in cell biology as well as preclinical target validation, and achieve better prediction of drug efficacy in patient cohorts.

Senior Research Scientist Matthias Nees from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland is coordinating the Work Package 2, dedicated to target validation and improved model systems for prostate cancer. This is a continuation of VTT's strong activities in cancer research and prostate cancer in particular.

PREDECT is a partnership between 9 academic, 3 SME (Small and Medium Enterprise) and 7 EU pharmaceutical partners. The projects started in March 2011 and lasts for 5 years. Total project cost: 17.7 Million euros.

Project partners: AstraZeneca AB, Sweden; Bayer Schering Pharma AG, Germany; Boehringer Ingelheim International GmbH, Germany; F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG, Switzerland; Institut de Recherche Servier, France; Orion Pharma, Finland; and Sigma-Tau S.p.A., Italy. Biomedicum Genomics Ltd, Finland; Oncotest GmbH, Germany; IBET Institute of Experimental Biology and Technology, Portugal.

Academic partners: VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland; Catholic University Foundation, Netherlands; Erasmus University Medical Centre, Netherlands; Institute of Cancer Research, United Kingdom; Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland; Robert Bosch Society for Medical Research mbH, Germany; University of Helsinki, Finland; University of Tartu, Estonia; Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel.

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