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Filipe Pereira awarded the ERC Proof-of-Concept grant

Filipe Pereira. Portrait

Filipe Pereira was awarded the ERC Proof-of-Concept grant covering €150.000 for a period of 18 months for the idea to identify cancer neoantigens with dendritic cell reprogramming (NeoIDC).

The ERC Proof-of-Concept (PoC) grant aims at facilitating the exploration of the commercial and social innovation potential of ERC-funded research. The project, for which Filipe Pereira got the grant, aims to employ dendritic cell reprogramming of cancer cells to identify:

  1. neoantigens for the design of potent cancer vaccines
  2. neoantigen-reactive TCRs for effective adoptive T cell therapies

In collaboration with spin-off company Asgard therapeutics, clinical collaborator Lennart Greiff, Senior physician at Skånes universitetssjukhus, Lund, but also international partners Michal Bassani, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland, and Inge Marie Svane, Center for Cancer Immune Therapy, Copenhagen, Denmark, Filipe Pereira is eager to explore the innovation potential of this project. 

For the ERC PoC, ERC frontier research main grant receivers can apply with an idea that was generated in the course of their ERC-funded projects. Filipe Pereira and his research team have previously used the combination of three transcription factors to re-programme human skin and cancer cells into dendritic cells providing the basis of this proposed project. Now Filipe sees the next leap forward in immunotherapy, to use this technique and circumvent the obstacles in the field of identifying cancer antigens for vaccine development and cancer-reactive TCRs for cell therapy in cancer patients.

The aim of this grant is to establish the proof of concept by:

  • testing, experimenting, demonstrating and validating the idea
  • conducting research required to carry out the above activities and to address the weaknesses uncovered by them
  • establishing viability, technical issues and overall direction
  • clarifying IPR protection or knowledge transfer strategy
  • involving industrial partners, societal or cultural organisations, policymakers or any other potential stakeholder supporting the translation of research results into innovation
  • assessing potential “end users” of the expected innovation

More information about the ERC PoC and here you can read more about the ERC-funded project called TrojanDC.