Multidrug resistance (MDR) affects 30 to 60% of cancer patients, causing poor quality of life and high costs for healthcare systems.

In order to advance research in this area, a group of European scientists, united by the COST Innovators Grant PANDORA, aim to create a new interdisciplinary professional figure, able to better grasp the complexity of the problem of MDR. Research in the MDR field is highly fragmented and there is no professional figure of young scientists that are adequately instructed in the different disciplines and trained to have interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary views and approaches that cover preclinical and clinical research in MDR tumours in order to successfully develop diagnostic tests or new drugs.

The PANDORA educational platform is funded by a CIG (COST Innovators Grant) with the aim of creating this new professional figure. By exploiting the scientific excellence present in our previous COST Action (CA17104 – New diagnostic and therapeutic tools against multidrug resistant tumors  –STRATAGEM – and the experience accumulated in organising training schools, practical-theoretical courses and workshops for young scientists, PANDORA aims to create a prototype for a training platform that will allow each scientist to fill the gaps in her/his scientific knowledge, and acquire a broader set of skills and expertise that will be advantageous at multiple levels.

First, the young scientists will have better opportunities for employment with pharma/biotech and medical device companies as well as contract research organisations (CROs), and/or will have the tools to create start-ups and small-medium enterprises (SMEs) that will contribute to the technological development and marketing of specific innovative products. Moreover, the training platform created during the CIG can become, over time, a permanent program for the continuous education of scientists working on MDR tumours.

The program:

  1. will be open to researchers from both public and private institutions;
  2. will include common online modules, to provide a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary view of MDR research, and also customised modules, based on the individual needs of the trainees, to grant specific and constantly updated skills and expertise;
  • will include in-person training schools;
  1. is in the process of securing acknowledgment so that it will be able to release a European certification of training that will recognised by the University of Turin (Italy) and possibly some of the other European Institutions involved.

Moreover, the growth of a new generation of scientists with a solid scientific background and the ability to dialogue with academic institutions, companies, policy decision-makers and international regulatory agencies will help to mitigate the issue of managing patients with MDR tumours, which is of increasing social and economic burden for the healthcare systems in each country. We expect significant cultural and socio-economic benefits in the midterm (5-6 years), in line with the mission of the European Community “Beating Cancer by 2030”:

1) create a virtuous loop of educational initiatives that put YRIs (Young Researchers and Innovators) in contact with stakeholders and become the reference meetings for researchers involved in MDR management;

2) develop the most promising inventions that are presented in the educational events into prototypes and products ready for the market, in collaboration with the stakeholders attending the events;

3) improve the standard of care of MDR tumours thanks to the innovations generated by YRIs and properly exploited by stakeholders (clinicians, pharma/biotech and CROs).

End date: 31/10/2023

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