Research project

AIRC_fellowship - Aupic (DFM.AD004.288)

Thematic area

Physical sciences and technologies of matter

Project area

Sistemi e materiali complessi, materia soffice, biofisica e reti (DFM.AD004)

Structure responsible for the research project

Institute of materials (IOM)

Project manager

Phone number: 39 040 3787 529


The centrality of copper (Cu) and its metabolism in cancer is manifold. Elevated copper levels have been reported for different
solid tumor tissues, suggesting a critical role of copper dis-homeostasis in cancer progression. Indeed, small-molecules targeting
Cu-chaperones Atox1, Atp7B and CCS, which shuttle the metal from the Cu transporter Ctr1 to the appropriate cellular
protein/destination, were discovered to be active/selective in vivo against distinct cancer types. Moreover, the Cu-cycle provides
a viable route for the selective uptake of radioimaging/therapeutic copper-complexes via Ctr1. Clinical studies demonstrated that
64Cu-ATSM is a promising PET-imaging agent for hypoxic tissues. Hypoxia is a hallmark of aggressive and malignant cancers,
representing an appealing target for early diagnosis and therapy. In spite of its potential, 64Cu-ATSM's selectivity must be
improved and its utility expanded by employing the 67Cu-isotope, which is suitable for both radioimaging and therapy. Taken
together, the copper-trafficking system can be leveraged for diverse anticancer theranostic applications.


Obiettivo del progetto è (i) sezionare/dispiegare le molte sfaccettature del meccanismo di traffico di Cu per progettare complessi di Cu che consentano l'assorbimento selettivo di ioni/complessi 64/67Cu (II) attraverso Ctr1 e la loro incorporazione nel metabolismo di Cu (I). ciclo delle cellule ipossiche del cancro al seno; (ii) progettare farmaci-candidati in grado di inibire selettivamente la proliferazione delle cellule cancerose bloccando il traffico di Cu-chaperons.

Start date of activity



simulazione numerica, cancer research

Last update: 06/12/2023