CRG project receives ERC Proof of Concept top-up funding

By June 2, 2022CRG

Researchers led by Prof. Luis Serrano from the BIST centre CRG have been awarded Proof of Concept top-up funding worth €150,000 from the European Research Council (ERC). The grant will help the researchers explore new methods to improve the therapeutic effectiveness of cytokines, which play a key role in the human immune system.

Cytokines are small proteins of great potential interest for human therapy, playing an important role in regulating the immune system and are involved in biological functions and diseases as diverse as cancer, inflammation, immune response, and tissue regeneration. Despite this, there are only a handful of cytokines approved for therapeutic purposes. This is because many of them can have adverse side effects as they usually target different cell types.

Thanks to a new Proof of Concept Grant granted by the European Research Council (ERC), CRG researchers led by Dr. Luis Serrano will explore new methods that improve the therapeutic effectiveness of cytokines. The funding, dedicated for the exploration of commercial or societal potential of cutting-edge frontier research, will help improve the safety and efficacy of cytokines by improving the stability, affinity and specificity of the molecules.

Thanks to in vitro and in vivo experiments, we know we can design cytokines with therapeutic potential. This funding will help us validate our technological platform and advance in the development of a business plan following the advice of several venture capital and pharma companies contacted to date, with the idea of laying the basis for the creation of a new start-up company”, says ICREA Research Professor Luis Serrano, Director of the CRG.

This year, fifty-five ERC grantees have been funded by the European Research Council (ERC), five of which were awarded to researchers based in Spain. Each Proof of Concept Grant is meant to explore the commercial or societal potential of their frontier research projects. Worth €150,000 each, this top-up funding is part of the EU’s research and innovation programme, Horizon Europe.

The selected projects cover a variety of different fields and questions, such as a more efficient method to produce the cells used in immunotherapies to fight cancer; new technologies to lower our energy consumption; and a quicker way for companies to change ingredients of everyday consumer products to make them more environmentally friendly.

Learn more on the CRG website.