The future at the microscope… Nanomedicines: A comprehensive cancer treatment strategy

You will know firsthand what the future is to be. Our researchers will present their most promising research lines which aim to not only improve quality of life, but to create jobs, wealth, and social and economic development.


The groups headed by teachers M.J. Alonso, A. Vidal and R. López work together on a European Project which employs nanotechnology and intends to develop innovative therapies to fight cancer. With these new therapies, the intention is to selectively and comprehensively act on different cell populations; more specifically, on cancer cells and immune system cells in the tumour domain, and also on circulating metastatic cells. For this purpose, designing nanocapsules capable of associating different active molecules and releasing them in a controlled manner into the corresponding target cells is being considered. Different cytostatic agents, monoclonal antibodies and siRNA have been selected as active molecules.

Expected / obtained results

Different nanovehicles (nanocapsules) capable of associating the antitumour drug docetaxel and miRNA molecules have been developed. Moreover, the capacity of nanocapsules to transport drugs to the lymphatic system level has been evidenced, as has the efficacy of treatment in a murine tumour model. Nowadays, evaluations are being made of the possibility of re-educating myeloid suppressor cells by employing gene therapy. Based on the results obtained, combined integral treatments, capable of acting at the cancer cells and the immune system suppressor cells level, could be designed.

Dates and the current project phase

One phase of this project finishes in 2013. However, it is desirable that the project continues with a new phase which involves numerous institutions internationally. For this very purpose, funds have been applied for at different national and international institutions.


A patent has been generated which protects various compositions of the nanocapsules destined to the transport of drugs

Project collaborators and partners

Apart from the internal collaborators of the USC and the University Clinical Hospital in Santiago, the University of Angers and the University of Verona participate in the EU –LYMPHOTARG project. The second phase of the project has also been established in collaboration with other institutions like the Val D’Hebron and the MD Anderson Hospitals, and several firms.


EU funds (the 7FP Programme) – Euronanomed

 Details of the Principal Investigator

Name and surname(s): María José Alonso Fernández

Research Group: Nanobiopharmaceuticals-CIMUS

Institution: USC

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