Where Ideas Grow

i3S project wins 1st edition of the Nonô Pediatric Sarcomas Scholarship

Researcher Catarina Leite Pereira was the winner of the first edition of the Nonô Pediatric Sarcomas Scholarship, awarded by the Portuguese League Against Cancer (LPCC). Worth 15,000 euros, this award will allow the researcher to study the most common malignant bone tumor in children and advance towards new therapies.

Entitled “B2Tek-4OS: Bio-inspired and Bioengineered Technology for OSteosarcoma – unraveling OS to advance in novel targeted therapies”, Catarina Leite Pereira’s project “aims to take advantage of the latest bioengineering techniques to establish an advanced, multi-compartment in vitro model, for the study of osteosarcoma and metastatic disease”.

Although osteosarcoma is the most frequent malignant bone tumor in children, little progress has been made in the development of new therapies, thus limiting the treatment options for these patients. For this reason, explains the researcher, “it is essential to establish models that allow us to understand its biology, the way it progresses and the mechanisms that lead to metastatic disease”.

The “multi-compartment platform” developed by the i3S researcher will make it possible to study the disease and identify new therapeutic targets. In the future, Catarina Leite Pereira believes that this model could also be an added value as a pre-clinical tool in the screening of new drugs/therapies for the treatment of osteosarcoma.

For the researcher to win the first edition of this grant represents “an enormous honor”, but also a great responsibility: “I feel that the award of this grant is a recognition of the importance of my project in advancing research in Osteosarcoma and, above all, demonstrates how the combination of different areas of knowledge can contribute to change the clinical paradigm in this context”.

This funding will allow the researcher from the “Nanomedicine & Translational Drug Delivery” group to implement the first phase of the project, which consists of developing a 3D multicellular model of osteosarcoma. “By including the different cellular components that make up the tumor, namely tumor cells, stromal cells and immune cells, we intend to recapitulate in vitro its microenvironment and thus understand the different cell-cell and cell-extracellular matrix interactions in progression tumor”, she explains.