Magdalena Król, an associate professor in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the Warsaw University of Life Sciences (SGGW), an FNP laureate, has won a prestigious ERC grant in the fight against cancer.

Prof. Magdalena Król, two-time winner in the FNP START programme and a winner in the FNP POMOST/PARENT-BRIDGE programme, has received nearly EUR 1.5 million from the European Research Council for a 5-year project in which together with her team she will study the phenomenon of transmission to cancer cells of a certain type of protein from cells of the immune system. As Prof. Król explained in an interview with the Polish Press Agency (PAP): “The immunological cells that are the subject of my research travel to regions of a tumour that are starved of oxygen and blood—where absolutely no drug will reach. After chemotherapy it appears that the tumour has disappeared, because most of the mass of the tumour is gone. But the cancer cells remain, and can cause a relapse or metastases.”

The researchers will seek to exploit this mechanism to “smuggle” anti-cancer agents—various types of drugs—inside the protein. In this way it may be possible to deliver them precisely, through the immunological cells, to cancerous tumours. This method may find application particularly in treatment of small metastases, which present a serious clinical problem.

ERC Starting Grants, funded by the European Research Council, are designed to support future scientific leaders who are at the stage of forming their research teams and conducting their first autonomous research. This funding scheme is reserved for the most promising scientists, who can already demonstrate that they have the potential to become independent research leaders. The grants support the creation of outstanding new groups of researchers.

Source: FNP, PAP Daily News Service