The network is composed of 8 Spanish research groups of various expertise in chemistry, nanotechnology and biology, and is representing 11 different Spanish universities and institutions.
Cancer and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) represent two major non-communicable diseases, which are in the top ten leading causes of mortality worldwide and their incidence will increase exponentially in the coming decades, owing to population ageing. Thus, the development of new anticancer and anti-AD drugs and efficient diagnostic/theranostic tools to detect/cure them at early stages is crucial for Society.
Cancer remains a serious concern because successful approaches for its effective treatment are still limited. One of the new research trends that are rapidly growing in this area consists in using metal-based drugs and diagnostic agents. The use of coordination compounds offers the possibility of great structural versatility, compared to purely organic molecules. It can be stressed here that one of the most widely used antitumor agents is a “metal drug”, i.e. cisplatin, with annual sales of ca. $500 million. Also, the most used MRI contrast agents are “metal drugs”, i.e. Gd compounds (US market annual sales of ca. $300 million). Finally, it can be mentioned that metallic nanoparticles represent ideal candidates for the development of multifunctional probes.
AD-affected brain suffer from metallostasis, which results in the production of amyloid-β aggregates and oxidative stress. To date, all clinical trials targeting amyloid β have failed; however, some clinical trials targeting copper interactions with amyloid β have shown benefit for patients. Actually, targeting metals represents a promising approach for AD therapy, which warrants fundamental investigation and studies in large-scale clinical trials.
MetDrugs gathers researchers with a strong will to make real progress in tackling such chronic diseases, and with complementary skills to ensure the development of efficient metal-based systems to do so. The main goal of MetDrugs is to share knowledge and competencies to develop innovative strategies, and applied them through cooperative projects.
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7 March 2017: Conchita Gimeno is one of the awardees of the IUPAC 2017 Distinguished Women in Chemistry
14 october 2015: The Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness of Spain finances the network