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Development of innovative proton and neutron therapies with high cancer specificity by 'hijacking' the intracellular chemistry of haem biosynthesis


Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is one of the most common types of brain cancer. Of the approximately 240,000 people a year who are diagnosed with brain cancer, GBM accounts for 14.6-16% of them. The current treatment options, which involve surgery followed by a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, have a limited curative impact and impose a significant health and financial burden on patients and the healthcare system.

Therefore, the research project NuCapCure aims to create an innovative treatment strategy by creating customised boron-containing photosensitisers (PSs) using intracellular biochemistry. The project combines proton radiotherapy, proton-induced PS activation, boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT), and neutron-induced PS activation. One of the core objectives of the NuCapCure project focuses on the design, development, validation, and optimisation of boron-modified PS prodrugs. These compounds will facilitate the intracellular production of boron-modified PSs by hijacking vital biosynthetic pathways. Put differently, the cancer cells will become small individual chemical laboratories that generate the final drugs, leading to their destruction through neutron- or accelerated proton-based treatments. The specificity of the bespoke PSs to the cancer cells is crucial for sparing the normal tissue surrounding the lesions.

Theodossis Theodossiou
University of Oslo
Horizon Europe & sub-programmes
54 months (February 2024 - July 2028)
Project funding
€ 5,972,875.75
Project partners
Technology readiness level
Project website
Your contact
Laura Schweigert
Project Manager
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