News

Nano2Clinic – Synergies for Clinical Translation of Nanotechnology in Cancer Therapies

March 3rd, 2023 – Zagreb, Croatia

Školska knjiga – The Great Hall, Masarykova Street 28

Nanotechnologies fundamentally change the current therapies and enable development of novel treatments and diagnostic approaches. The improvements in medical therapies and diagnostic achieved through innovative medical nanoproducts has a great and direct clinical importance and provide benefits for the patients. Hence, best practices in design and development of such nanoproducts will contribute to societal prosperity and welfare, by providing access to better and safer treatments.

This meeting aims to strengthen relations between industry, R&D&I sector, regulatory agencies, clinics, and patients with the ultimate goal of fostering the clinical translation of nanomedicine from bench to bedside. By promoting scientific exchanges, technological implementation and innovative solutions, the meeting will enable dialogue for rationalizing and focusing research efforts at the EU level in dealing with the grand challenge of nanomedicine translation for cancer therapies.

The meeting will focus on several factors that need to be discussed and considered in order to achieve the best societal impact:

1) Safety aspects: by discussing the best practices for the application of the Safe-by-Design concept during early stages of development and production of novel medical nanoproducts.

2) Regulatory aspects: by discussing necessary steps for regulatory acceptance of novel nanoproducts.

3) Training and education aspects for a solid skilled workforce and patients: by facilitating and expanding cross-disciplinary training for researchers, medical care providers, public health professionals working in industry, government, and academia, as well as for patients.

Participation is free of charge. If you would like to register, sign up with the link down below until the 20th of February 2023.

Organizer: NANO2CLINIC: Cost Action CA17140 –
Cancer nanomedicine – from the bench to the bedside


Supported by: PHOENIX-OITB: Pharmaceutical Open Innovation Test Bed for Enabling Nano-pharmaceutical Innovative Products

SENDER: Safe-by-Design Approach for Development of Nano-Enabled Delivery Systems to Target the Brain

Local organizer:
Institute for Medical Research and Occupational Health, Zagreb, Croatia

For updated information and agenda visit: phoenix-oitb.eu/news-media/

The PHOENIX-OITB project receives funding from the European Union’s Horizon  2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 953110. COST Action CA 17140 “Cancer Nanomedicine from the Bench to the Bedside”  is supported by COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology).  SENDER Safe-by-Design Approach for Development of Nano-Enabled-Delivery Systems to Target the Brain is a project financed within the “Research Cooperability” Program of the Croatian Science Foundation funded from the European  Social Fund.

New European Project NABIHEAL in biomaterials for complex wound healing

The Horizon Europe project NABIHEAL, coordinated by the Center for Biomedical Research Network (CIBER) at the Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona (ICMAB-CSIC), was launched on 11-12 January 2023 in Barcelona with the first meeting of the international consortium, formed by 14 partners from 7 countries, including research centers, universities, and private companies. 

Members of the EU-funded project NABIHEAL during the kick-off meeting in Barcelona on 11 January 2023.

NABIHEAL stands for “Antimicrobial Nanostructured Biomaterials for Complex Wound Healing” and is funded under the Horizon Europe Research and Innovation programme with a total budget of nearly 5 million euros over four years. NABIHEAL aims at solving two unmet medical needs in complex wound healing: on the one hand, affordable treatments for wound infections and prevention of complications during wound healing, and on the other, a strategy to optimize the composition and efficacy of wound dressings.

The kickoff meeting, held at the CSIC Researcher’s Residence in Barcelona, was opened by the project coordinator, Nora Ventosa, from CIBER and ICMAB-CSIC, and by institutional and political representatives, including Riccardo Rurali, Vice-Director of ICMAB-CSIC; Ramon Martínez Mañez, Scientific Director of CIBER-BBN; Jordi Aguasca, Director of Technological Transformation and Disruption Unit, ACCIÓ; and Xavier Aldeguer, General Director of Society of Knowledge, Transfer & Territory of the Catalan Government. The meeting provided the opportunity to interact in person with all the consortium partners and establish the first collaborative activities to ensure timely delivery of the project milestones.

Complex wound healing as a global health problem

The NABIHEAL project will advance on the synthesis of advanced nanostructured biomaterials as an alternative to the commonly used silver-based materials. “The project will work to produce multifunctional materials for the treatment of complex wound healing, which has become a global health problem. For example, in developed countries, it affects the quality of life of more than 2% of the total population,” affirms Nora Ventosa, coordinator of the project.

Complex wounds, such as chronic wounds, are highly susceptible to microbial infection and biofilm formation, and thus difficult to treat. The most common antimicrobial products to treat these infections are based on silver. However, they have several economic, environmental and safety drawbacks. The biomaterials developed within the NABIHEAL project will offer a safer, more sustainable and more cost-effective alternative.

The project aims to obtain innovative multifunctional wound healing biomaterials using affordable EU-based manufacturing technologies. In the long term, NABIHEAL could become a game-changing alternative to silver in wound healing dressings.

An International Consortium

The goals of the project will be tackled by an interdisciplinary consortium from 7 countries, combining expertise in different areas, such as synthesis and characterization of biomaterials, biocompatibility and safety, regulatory aspects and ethics, or wound healing product development and scale-up. “We are excited to launch this project, in which 8 academic institutions and 6 private companies will join forces to face the challenging problem of complex wound treatment,” adds Prof. Ventosa.  

In addition to the Center for Biomedical Research Network (CIBER) at the Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona (ICMAB), as coordinator, the international consortium is formed by the following centers and companies: from Spain, the Center for Biomedical Research Network (CIBER) at the University of Extremadura and the University of Cantabria, the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), Nanomol Technologies S.L. (NT), Bioiberica S.A.U (BIO), Histocell S.L (HCELL), the University of Granada (UGR), and Asphalion (ASPH); from Germany, MyBiotech GmbH (MyB) and Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin (CH); from Croatia, the Institute for Medical Research and Occupational Health (IMI); from Denmark, the Aarhus University (AU); from Israel, the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology (IT); from Austria, BioNanoNet Forschungsgesellschaft mbH (BNN); and from Slovenia, the University of Maribor (UM).

More information:

Prof. Nora Ventosa, Project Coordinator, CIBER, ICMAB-CSIC ventosa@icmab.es

Caitlin Ahern, Communication, BioNanoNet caitlin.ahern@bnn.at

Official stay of researchers in Australia as part of the SENDER project

Doctoral student Nikolina Kalčec and dr.sc. Ivan Pavičić are currently staying at the Bio21 Institute in Melbourne, Australia as part of a joint project called “Safe approach for the development of nano-systems for the targeted delivery of drugs to the brain – SENDER” headed by dr.sc. Ivana Vinković Vrček and co-leader prof. emer. Frances Separovic. The project was financed within the framework of the Cooperation Program with Croatian scientists in the diaspora “Scientific Cooperation” implemented by the Croatian Science Foundation. During their two months of visiting at the Bio21 Institute, under the guidance of prof. emer. Frances Separovic and dr.sc. Marc-Antoine Sania, doctoral student Kalčec and dr.sc. Pavičić, will learn about techniques such as solid-state NMR spectroscopy, isothermal titration calorimetry and circular dichroism. Using these devices, they will monitor the interactions of differently functionalized gold and selenium nanoparticles with lipids present in the blood-brain barrier. These experiments will provide information about the complex events that take place at the nano-bio interface and help clarify the passage of nanoparticles through the blood-brain barrier. The researcher’s stay at the collaborating institution will be of great importance for the successful implementation of the SENDER project, and we hope that the obtained results will enable joint publication and continued cooperation.

Presentation of the European project “Pharmaceutical Open Innovation Test Bed for Enabling Nano-pharmaceutical Innovative Products – PHOENIX” at FARMEBS

The NanoBioFaces research group presented the European project “Pharmaceutical Open Innovation Test Bed for Enabling Nano-pharmaceutical Innovative Products – PHOENIX” at the 10th Symposium of Pharmacy and Medical Biochemistry Students (FARMEBS 2022) on Saturday, October 22, 2022 at the Faculty of Pharmacy and Biochemistry.

NanoBioFaces group from the Institute for Medical Research and Occupational Health, headed by Dr. sc. Ivana Vinković Vrček, leads the “Regulatory Support” Work Package in the Phoenix project, and participates in the development and application of in vivo and in vitro methods for assessing the safety and effectiveness of nanomedicines. During the workshop, Dr. sc. Ivana Vinković Vrček and her colleagues presented the project itself in more detail, as well as the activities and methods that are developed and used as part of the research work of the group.

Where it was presented that PHOENIX, a project financed from the Horizon 2020 program, has as its ultimate goal to offer the market a united network of companies and laboratories that, with their expertise in research, development, production and regulatory activities in the field of nanomedicine, will facilitate the development of nanomedicine formulations from laboratory to preclinical and production processes. During the 4 years of the project, 12 partner institutions from 6 European countries will upgrade their existing laboratories and production facilities, build new ones, and provide services through the so-called “single-entry point” approach. The services will cover design, development, preclinical testing, scale-up development, GMP production and regulatory support for all phases of nanomedicine development.

PHOENIX Consortium meets in Luxembourg for General Assembly and Review

From 12-14 September 2022, 26 members of the PHOENIX-OITB project consortium met at the Luxembourg Learning Center near host LIST’s campus in Esch-sur-Alzette for the Month 18 General Assembly and first periodic review by the European Commission. Several members as well as the project officer from the European Commission joined remotely. The meeting was led by host and project coordinator Dr. Tommaso Serchi (LIST) and project scientific coordinator Dr. Nazende Günday-Türeli (MyBiotech).

In addition to updates from each work package, the two-day General Assembly offered ample time for in-depth discussion about our demo cases, service portfolio, the PHOENIX-OITB gGmbH, and upcoming Open Call. Colleagues from our 12 beneficiaries offered each other feedback, including solutions to challenges arising in the project. Overall, we are very pleased with the progress of this OITB project and are looking forward to the next steps.

On September 13th the consortium took a tour of the facilities at Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST), led by Dr. Tommaso Serchi. View a short video of our tour highlights on LinkedIn here.

Preparations for the launch of our Open Call – offering pro bono services to end-users to validate our service portfolio – are underway and the Open Call will be launched soon! Visit our website October 10th to find out all the details and application requirements.

Krunoslav Ilić’s PhD Dissertation Defense

Dr. sc. Krunoslav Ilić, mag. biol. mol. has successfully defended his doctoral thesis entitled “Assessment of the joint action of silver and polystyrene nanoparticles on the model cell lines of the immune system”, under the mentorship of dr. sc. Ivan Pavičić and associate prof. dr. sc. Petra Turčić. The defense was held on October 19, 2022, at the Faculty of Pharmacy and Biochemistry.

Dr. sc. Ilić defended the dissertation entitled “Assessment of the joint action of silver and polystyrene nanoparticles on model cell lines of the immune system,” before a panel composed of: dr. sc. Dragomira Majhen, senior research associate from the Institute of Ruđer Bošković, associate. prof. dr. sc. Tin Weitner from the Faculty of Pharmacy and Biochemistry and prof. dr. sc. Anita Hafner from the Faculty of Pharmacy and Biochemistry. In doing so, he successfully completed the postgraduate doctoral study of „Pharmaceutical-Biochemical Sciences“ obtaining the title of Doctor of Science.

PHOENIX-OITB Launches Open Call Offering Funded Services in Nanopharmaceutical Development

Applications are open from 10 Oct 2022 – 31 Jan 2023 for the PHOENIX-OITB Open Call!

PHOENIX-OITB’s mission is to offer a Single-Entry-Point for a consolidated network of facilities, technologies, services and expertise for all the technology transfer aspects from characterization, testing, verification up to scale-up, GMP compliant manufacturing and regulatory guidance in the field of nanopharmaceutical development, framing the OITB clearly within the nanomedicine field.

The services and expertise provided by the PHOENIX-OITB include production and characterisation under GMP conditions, safety evaluation, regulatory compliance and commercialisation boost. Under the scope of the Open Call, we offer the following service categories:

  • Physico-Chemical Characterization,
  • In vitro Characterisation,
  • In vivo Characterisation and
  • Manufacturing

How to apply

Any legal entity (SMEs, start up or RTOs) and research group, based in the European Union or associate countries of H2020 can apply to this call.

The Evaluation Committee will evaluate each proposal in three main criteria:

  • Excellence
  • Implementation
  • Impact

The applicants will be informed about the decision made by the Evaluation Committee by the end of 01.03.2023 via email. A Stage 2 detailed application must then be submitted by 31.03.2023. Awarded projects must be completed by February 2025.

For more information and all application documents, visit our website.

Symposium “Synergy at the chemistry-nanotechnology interface”

On May 28th, 2022, at the Faculty of Science, the first Symposium “Synergy at the chemistry-nanotechnology interface” was held. Symposium was organized by project HRZZ-PZS-2019-02-4323 “SENDER”, granted by “Research Cooperability” Program of the Croatian Science Foundation and funded from the European Social Fund.

Organizing Commitee consisted of: SENDER leader Dr Ivana Vinković Vrček, Dr Ivan Pavičić, Nikolina Peranić, MSc, Nikolina Kalčec, MSc and Ivan Mamić, MPharm. Plenary lecture “NMR structural studies of antimicrobial peptides in model membranes and live bacteria” was held by co-leader of SENDER project, Dr Frances Separovic.

As part of the programme, besides the very attractive plenary lecture, there were oral presentations with lot of interesting topics held by colleagues from Ruđer Bošković Institute, School of Medicine, Faculty of Chemical Engineering and Technology, Faculty of Science and Faculty of Pharmacy and Biochemistry.

Launch of the European research and innovation PARC programme to improve chemical risk assessment

The European Partnership for the Assessment of Risks from Chemicals (PARC), which is being launched in Paris, France is seeking to develop next-generation chemical risk assessment, incorporating both human health and the environment in a “One Health” approach. It will help support the European Union’s Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability and the European Green Deal’s “zero polution” ambition. Bringing together nearly 200 from 28 countries as well as EU agencies (EEA, ECHA and EFSA), PARC is coordinated by ANSES, with funding on an equal basis from Horizon Europe, the 9th EU research and innovation framework programme and the partnership’s participants. The partnership will run for seven years. Institute for Medical Research and Occupational Health will be included in this partnership as an affiliated entity (AE).