Strengthening excellence for advanced osteosarcoma’s predictive models

Principal Investigator: Monica Montesi
Involved personnel: Silvia Panseri, Giada Bassi, Arianna Rossi, Mohamed Saqawa 

Starting date: 01/01/2023
Duration: 36 mesi
Total funding: 1.375.187,50 €
Project coordinator: Tatiana Marisa Fernandes Patricio (INSTITUTO POLITECNICO DE LEIRIA, Portugal)
Project Officer: Silvia SCAGLIA
Official website:

PREDICTOS is designed to enhance Polytechnic Institute of Leiria (PL), Centre for Rapid and Sustainable Product Development’s (CDRSP-PL) research management and administrative skills, as well as the scientific and technological excellence, in particular in the field of predictive in vitro and in silico models to investigate novel therapies against osteosarcoma (OS).
OS is the primary malignant bone tumour that mostly affects children, adolescents, and young adults. Tumour cells manage the physiological pathways of bone microenvironment for their benefit to survive and spread. Surgery and chemotherapy are the standard treatments used, with an improved 5-year overall survival on 66% of cases. However, some concerns remain related to the unknown killed or removed cancer cells, the resistance to standard therapies, the resurgence of the tumour and the adverse side effects to the patients, highlighting the need on developing novel therapies. The existing research points out three main ways to enhance the therapeutics in this field: the wider specificity for Cancer Stem Cells (CSCs), the creation of 3D microenvironment models that recapitulate the tumour complexity and the development of innovative strategies that can remove the remaining tumour cells after surgery. The research component of PREDICTOS will rely on the biomimicry strategies and will investigate the development of best-in-class 3D in vitro and in silico models that mimic OS environment to study therapeutic mechanisms, as well as a proof of concept of the methods will be investigated by proposing a therapy using magnetic materials and magnetic stimulation, in order to develop improved treatments therapies.

To successfully accomplish the objectives, PREDICTOS brings together a multidisciplinary team, the CDRSP-PL – the coordinator and widening partner – with three leading partners that will contribute with their proficiency in specific fields, such as in vitro models, cell/biomaterial interaction (Institute of Science, Technology and Sustainability for Ceramics and Institute of Membrane Technology (CNR, Italy)); biomanufacturing, in vitro models (the University of Maastricht, namely the MERLN Institute for Technology-Inspired Regenerative Medicine (MERLN, Netherlands)), as well as in vitro and in silico models (University of Liège, with the Biomechanics Research Unit, GIGA In Silico Medicine (ULIEGE, Belgium)), being among the most renown institutions in those areas, in Europe. PREDICTOS will allow the different project partners, in particular CDRSP-PL, to jointly explore innovative and improved practices, which will stimulate the enhancement of their scientific expertise, to strengthen their research and management skills, as well as expand their medical and industrial network. A solid and long-term network is established between CDRSP-PL with CNR, and MERLN, which will be reinforced with ULIEGE during the period of the Twinning and post project and will be extended through new contacts with companies, universities, research centres and hospitals. Meanwhile, the cluster will promote the development of novel strategies at an international level, giving the CDRSP-PL the opportunity to be at the level of competitiveness of the top-ranking European universities and research centres in the areas of in vitro, in silico, cancer therapy, biomanufacturing, biomaterials, and tissue engineering (TE), as well as to be recognized as Polytechnic University. The project will reinforce the human resources valorisation, promote an improvement on qualified education, treasure the multicultural aspects, trigger employment opportunities, develop global sustainability, boost digital transformation, as well as to promote high level of research, innovation and impact. This will give to CDRSP-PL the possibility to receive more international students, to become more appealing to Early-Stage Researchers (ESRs), and to be highly recognized across Europe.
The consortium will, finally, establish and extend the network with a high expertise external advisory board (from hospital and business areas), which will be called to advise the PREDICTOS partners in different matters concerning the capacity building activities and the research related processes.