September 20, 2022

Helena Florindo awarded by “la Caixa” Foundation

Helena Florindo, group leader of Drug Delivery & Immunoengineering Lab at iMed.ULisboa was awarded with a CaixaResearch Health 2022 grant from “la Caixa” Banking Foundation with the project titled Multifunctional nano-immunotherapy against breast brain metastases.


Breast cancer is one of the most common type of cancer worldwilde. This type of primary tumour eventually generates brain metastases in 15-30 % of patients. In fact, breast cancer is the second most frequent cause of brain metastases, which can appear even a decade after the primary tumour has been successfully treated. The prognosis when this occurs is poor.

Despite recent advances in cancer treatments, including immunotherapy, brain tumours and brain metastases remain urgent unmet medical needs. This is largely because the mechanisms by which cancer cells escape from their primary site of origin and nest and proliferate in another distant organ are not fully understood. Moreover, the way the immune cells control the communication between the brain microenvironment and tumour cells, which eventually leads to metastasis, is still not fully elucidated.

The project focuses on analysing the interactions established between the tumour, the vascular system and the immune system in metastatic brain cancers. The goal is to pave the way for the design of a new nano-immunotherapy that can regulate the brain’s immune function so that it prevents and treats brain metastases.


This project will be conducted at Helena Florindo’s Lab in collaboration with project partner Professor Ronit Satchi-Fainaro‘ team at Cancer Biology Research Center from Universidad de Tel Aviv, Israel.

Find more about the project here.


Other Portuguese projects awardees included researchers from Centro de Ciências do Mar do Algarve (CCMAR), Instituto de Medicina Molecular (iMM, Lisbon), Instituto de Investigação e Inovação em Saúde da Universidade do Porto (i3S, Porto), Instituto de Investigação em Ciências da Vida e Saúde (ICVS) (Minho), Centro de Neurociências e Biologia Celular da Universidade de Coimbra (CNC, Coimbra), Instituto de Tecnologia Química e Biológica António Xavier (ITQB NOVA, Oeiras), NOVA Medical School (Lisbon), Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (IGC, Oeiras).

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