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ESB rewards cancer nanomedicine project

Flávia Castro, a PhD candidate in the Doctoral Program of Biotecnologia Molecular e Celular Aplicada às Ciências da Saúde (BiotechHealth) of Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas Abel Salazar (ICBAS), was recently handed the Best Student Award by the European Society of Biomaterials in recognition of research work presented at the 30th Annual Conference of the European Society for Biomaterials (ESB) held in Dresden, Germany.

The work developed by Flávia Castro, entitled Harnessing chitosan and poly (y-glutamic acid) nanoparticles to reprogram the breast tumor microenvironment was coordinated by Maria José Oliveira and Raquel Gonçalves in close collaboration with Mário Barbosa, and Olivier de Wever of the Laboratory of Experimental Cancer Research in Ghent, Belgium. This study was based on the immunomodulatory role of chitosan and poly-y-glutamic acid nanoparticles, previously described by the researcher and published in the scientific journal Acta Biomaterialia, one of the most prestigious journals in the field of biomaterials.

The results of the award-winning study show that chitosan and poly-y-glutamic acid nanoparticles, when combined with conventional therapies such as radiotherapy, stimulate the antitumor response in an animal model of breast cancer. This strategy has enormous potential for new combinatorial therapies in cancer by modulating the immune response.

For Flávia Castro, attending the ESB annual conference "was of enormous scientific interest, as this meeting brings together leading researchers in the field of biomaterials and summarizes recent advances in the area". Besides the opportunity to present the work in an oral communication format, this prize "represents recognition for the work done".

This is the seventh time that the work of Flávia Castro has been acknowledged. Earlier she has been awarded by the European Association for Cancer Research (EACR travel grants), Portuguese Association for Cancer Research (ASPIC meeting Grant), Portuguese Society for Immunology (SPI travel Grant), COST Short Term Scientific Mission and GESINAS Immunotools award. The award-winning work is part of a project funded in 2018 by the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) and led by Maria José Oliveira.