Mind the Byte is one of the partners in the Mechano-Control research project slated to receive €7 million in funding over the next five years to develop therapies for cancer, fibrosis and other diseases. Coordinated by Dr Pere Roca-Cusachs, head researcher at the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) and adjunct professor at the University of Barcelona, Mechano-Control is one of 12 projects that have been selected from the 210 applications submitted from around Europe in the latest call launched by the Horizon 2020 FET Proactive programme.
The FET Proactive programme promotes new multidisciplinary communities of researchers. This is key in the Mechano-Control project, which seeks to decode and control how cells transfer and detect mechanical forces. "Most solid tumours have altered mechanical properties, such as a stiffness higher than that of normal tissue. This increased stiffness promotes tumour progression," explains Dr Roca-Cusachs. "If we can come to understand and control this process, our breakthroughs could have a huge impact on the development of new therapies for many diseases."
The Mechano-Control team includes biologists, biophysicists, engineers, theoretical physicists and computational chemists. Mind the Byte, a company specialising in bioinformatics and computational drug design, "is contributing our knowledge and highly competitive tools that shorten drug discovery processes, like our SaaS platform," says Dr Alfons Nonell-Canals, CEO of the company.
In addition to IBEC and Mind the Byte, the consortium comprises the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC), University Medical Centre Utrecht and Noviocell (Netherlands), Germany's Leibniz-Institut, and King's College London.
Since September 2016, Mind the Byte has also been working with IBEC as part of a consortium led by pharmaceutical company Ferrer to study new molecules to prevent cancer metastasis.
Photo: Dr Pere Roca-Cusachs