From a Ca' Foscari University spinoff, a kit to boost cancer research

From a Ca' Foscari spinoff comes a kit able to make a major contribution to the work of the most advanced cancer research laboratories. The kit represents the results of years of research carried out by the Cancer Institute of Aviano and continued at Ca' Foscari University and allows scientists to grow normal or tumour tissue cells which can be used to experiment diagnostic tests and innovative therapies. The objective is to contribute to the development of precision and personalised medicine.

The kit makes it possible to grow organoids, i.e., miniaturised three-dimensional organs obtained from a few cells which can self-organise to reproduce the functions of the target organ. The development of organoids for research is considered one of the greatest scientific advances of recent years.

“We offer our research colleagues all over the world a reliable tool to conduct their cancer research," explains biologist Flavio Rizzolio, co-founder of the Biofuture Medicine spinoff and researcher at the Department of Molecular Sciences and Nano Systems and at the Cancer Institute (CRO) of Aviano. "Other laboratories, besides ours, are able to produce organoids but the process to achieve a standard method able to guarantee results requires a lot of time and considerable investment. By using the kit, a laboratory can focus entirely on the advancement of better medical treatments”.

Applications range from oncology to biotoxicology, stem cells, nano-medicine and diagnostic applications. This innovative start-up company will also develop new nanomaterials for use in the administration of oncology drugs. In particular, the method will be based on organic and inorganic nanoparticles encapsulating different compounds.

The team also works on drug development, from design to synthesis of the anticancer drug. "We work closely with doctors," adds Rizzolio, "to design patient-based solutions”.

In addition to cancer patient care, Biofuture Medicine will focus on wellness, providing training in nutrition, health and food safety, environmental wellness and active ageing.

Rizzolio's team includes three postdoctoral researchers and four PhD students. Among the different PhD programmes involved is the new Ca' Foscari PhD Programme in Science and Technology of Bio and Nanomaterials