CANTAR: new oncologic research network

31.03.2022 | TopNews Prof. Dr. Henning Walczak

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CECAD congratulates the Medical Faculty of the University of Cologne on its new research network called CANTAR (CANcer TARgeting) in the field of oncology. The aim of this network, funded by the Ministry of Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (MKW NRW), is to create cooperative projects across all types of universities and non-university research institutions to develop new research profiles and establish strong research networks.

The spokesperson of the new network is Humboldt Professor and CECAD Principal Investigtor Dr. Henning Walczak from the Center for Biochemistry. CANTAR aims to develop new chemical entities to identify specific driving pathways of cancer and to explore how cancer can "escape" the immune system. CANTAR is funded with a total of 19.4 million euros for the funding period from August 2022 to July 2026. Cologne's share amounts to 8.4 million euros.

The network brings together highly complementary knowledge in North Rhine-Westphalia, building on established research partnerships. It pursues a holistic approach in which researchers from chemistry, biology, and medicine work together in a way that is unique in Europe. The focus is on the discovery and development of substances that specifically target cancer cells while avoiding normal tissues. In addition, substances will be developed that interfere with cancer-specific metabolic processes or that help the body’s immune system detect tumour cells. CANTARcloses the gap between basic research and translational clinical cancer research.

The researchers believe that substantial therapeutic breakthroughs in the treatment of cancer will be achieved within the next ten years. ‘We want to help develop innovative, targeted cancer therapies,’ said Professor Walczak. ‘CANTAR is in an excellent position to chart new territory in cancer research by identifying additional targets. The funding will take us an important step forward in this endeavour.’

The network’s partner institutions include the University of Duisburg-Essen, TU Dortmund University, the Universities of Bonn and Düsseldorf, RWTH Aachen University, the German Centre for Neurodegenerative Diseases in Bonn and the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Physiology in Dortmund.

Adapted press release of the University of Cologne: