Professor João F. Mano was awarded for the second time with a Proof of Concept (PoC) grant from the European Research Council. The ERC-PoC scheme supports activities at the very early stage of turning research outputs into a commercial valuable proposition, able to achieve economic or societal benefits. Based on technological advances reached from the ERC-Advanced Grant ATLAS, João F. Mano will receive 150000€ for the validation and commercial exploitation of a hydrogel-based platform combining human-derived biomaterials, obtained from amniotic membrane, and cells as patient- and disease- specific models for bone disorders, in particular osteosarcoma. The project will be co-supervised by Catarina Custódio and the team will also include Inês Deus, Sara Santos and Cátia Monteiro.

Osteosarcoma is a rare but devastating bone tumour that mainly affects children, adolescents and elderly. This type of tumour is very resistant to therapy, being thus urgent to find new effective treatments. In vitro three-dimensional tumour models can recapitulate many aspects of the natural tumour environment, and could be used to improve the predictive value of the effect of anticancer drug candidates. The ERC-PoC project AMNIOGEL will be engaged on the pre-competitive development of biological sophisticated disease models that could be used as an enabling tool for personalized and precision drug discovery, increasing our understanding of the mechanisms behind bone cancer and opening marketable solutions for testing new drug-based therapies.