The Annual BiotechHealth Symposium is a hallmark of the Programme. It is organized by the students and takes place in two days: one dedicated to presentations by all the BiotechHealth students (closed meeting) and the other as a symposium with invited speakers. The latter, which is open to the scientific community, reinforces the interdisciplinary and international nature of BiotechHealth. The 6th Annual BiotechHealth Symposium will take place on the 1st and 2nd of July of 2019.
The research group 3DUnit lead by Prof. Lucília Saraiva, received a MED.IDEAS award, promoted by NORTEXCEL. The ACTONp53 project involving the Biotechhealth students Liliana Raimundo, Helena Ramos, Sara Gomes e Ana Sara Gomes, was one of the selected projects for the CANCER area, proposing p53-activating agents as new anticancer drug candidates. This project proposes new molecules with anti-tumour activity. Preclinical data obtained with these molecules unequivocally shows the advantages of these activating agents compared to those currently available. In addition to their potential use as molecular probes to study the respective signalling pathways, they have great potential as antineoplastic therapeutic agents both in monotherapy and in combination with other chemotherapeutic agents.
Sara Gomes and Liliana Raimundo also recently published an article in the renowned Cancer Letter Journal as first co-authors. The work reports the identification of a new inhibitor of the TAp73 interaction with both MDM2 and mutant p53 with promising antitumor activity against neuroblastoma. The release of TAp73 from its interaction with MDM2 and mutant p53, enhanced TAp73 transcriptional activity, cell cycle arrest, and apoptosis in p53-null and mutant p53-expressing tumor cells. Importantly, LEM2 displayed potent antitumor activity both alone and in combination with conventional drugs, against patient-derived neuroblastoma cells, consistent with an activation of the TAp73 pathway. Collectively, besides its relevant contribution to the advance of TAp73 pharmacology, LEM2 may pave the way to improved therapeutic alternatives against neuroblastoma. This work has been developed under the supervision of Prof. Lucília Saraiva at Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Porto, where Sara and Liliana are currently performing their PhD work in collaboration with Professor Renata Veselska from Masaryk University in BRNO.
Daniela Freitas has recently published an article in the transnational biomedical research journal EBioMedicine. The clinical work reveals that O-glycans truncation modulates gastric cancer cell signaling and transcription leading to a more aggressive phenotype. This study discloses novel molecular links between O-glycans truncation frequently observed in cancer and key cellular regulators with major impact in tumor progression and patients' clinical outcome. This work is part of the PhD project developed by Daniela Freitas under the supervision of Prof. Celso A. Reis and Dr. Ana Magalhães at i3S/Ipatimup, University of Porto.