The research project RESYNC has received funding from the European Innovation Council (EIC) within the framework of “Pathfinder Open” in 2023 and it aims to use drugs to reprogram cancer cells into immune cells, in order to increase the body’s natural anti-tumor response and fight cancer.

In recent years, immunotherapies that utilize the patient’s own immune system have revolutionized cancer treatment. But sometimes the immune system fails to eliminate tumor cells, especially if the tumor has developed mechanisms to evade immune surveillance, the immune system’s ability to fight disease. Many patients also do not respond to these therapies, because the immune cells that recognize foreign substances, antigens, and respond to threats such as infections and tumor cells, are missing or dysfunctional.

CIn a consortium of seven international partners, RESYNC aims to use small molecule-based reprogramming to change the function of cells. The goal is identify the combination of small molecules that effectively reprograms the cancer cells into dendritic cells. Small molecules are good candidates for making chemical cell transformations, because they are smaller and have an easier time passing through the cell membrane than viral vectors. In addition, they have the potential to be manufactured in larger quantities, in order to meet market demand.

Next, RESYNC will connect the cell reprogramming with nanoparticles, which are targeted to specific areas of the body – for example, disseminated tumors – to improve the delivery and increase the therapeutic effect.

The RESYNC project is led from Lund University, Sweden and the consortium includes:

– Asgard Therapeutics AB Sweden

– Politecnico di Torino Italy

– Universitatea Babes Bolyai Romania

– Ustav Organicke Chemie a Biochemie, Czech Republic

– Karolinska Institutet, Sweden.

This project has received funding from the European Innovation Council as an EICV Pathfinder Open call with GA 101130218, Budget: 2’902’527 Euro Title” Functional chemical reprogramming of cancer cells to induce antitumor immunity”