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Bielefeld University > Department of Chemistry > Organic Chemistry III > Magicbullet

Press release

EU finances the European Training Network MAGICBULLET

The European Union has granted ~ 3.75 million € to the Marie Skłodowska-Curie European Training Network (ETN) MAGICBULLET for years 2015-2018 as part of the Horizon 2020 Framework programme for research and innovation. The MAGICBULLET consortium brings together seven academic research groups from Germany (Bielefeld, Cologne), Italy (Milano, Como), Hungary (Budapest), and Finland (Helsinki), and two pharmaceutical companies (Heidelberg Pharma, Germany and Exiris, Italy) that will join forces to develop new chemistry-driven concepts for anti-tumour therapies.

The ETN MAGICBULLET consortium covers fields of tumour biology, biochemistry, pharmacology, synthetic chemistry, medicinal chemistry, spectroscopy, conformational analysis, and computational chemistry. Fifteen young researchers, who will receive a tailored interdisciplinary training program in the frame of the research activities, will be employed.

Currently used anti-tumour drugs are highly cytotoxic and therapies often associated with severe side effects. Chemical compounds that specifically recognize molecular structures present on tumour cells would be advantageous to target the delivery of a drug to a tumour cell. Conjugates of such a chemical "address label" with a drug might be a "magic bullet" according to the early vision of the Nobel laureate Paul Ehrlich (1854-1915, Nobel prize in Physiology 1908).

The ETN will develop and validate an array of new peptide-drug conjugates combining either known tumour-specific peptides or newly discovered tumour-homing peptides with potent cytotoxic drugs. Peptide-drug conjugates can have a high drug loading capacity, easily penetrate tissues, and can be easily prepared in a homogenous form with straightforward and well-defined conjugation chemistry.

EU The MAGICBULLET project is supported by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 program through the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions.