About the VAMPIRE programme
A Marie Curie initial training programme funded by the European Union under the FP7 programme.
The overall goal of VAMPIRE is to train the next generation of biomedical scientists in the skills necessary for the creation and development of monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of cancer. Our vision is that such therapeutics will contribute significantly to future cancer therapies. To provide a broad training experience, ESRs will also gain experience in a wide-range of other more commonly used cytotoxic therapies for cancer. However, the focus will be on novel antibody treatments because of the recent success of antibody therapies for cancer in the clinic. Evidence for the growth of antibody therapeutics in oncology comes from the year-on-year increase in the number of novel antibodies introduced into the clinic, antibodies in clinical trial and development, publications and their acceptance as a key tool in the therapeutic armoury of the clinician. Accordingly, a number of companies are developing and commercialising therapeutic antibodies within the EU; for example Novartis, Aventis, Roche and Morphosys amongst many others. This increasing development of novel antibodies combined with the growth in their applications far outstrips the supply of suitably qualified scientists to optimally enable this. Thus, there exists an urgent need within the EU to have trained scientists with both knowledge of antibody production and characterisation and testing of these antibodies in animal models of cancer. This will then enable the antibodies to enter clinical trials. Trained young scientists are needed to lead multidisciplinary/sector research activities, so that the EU establishes itself as a leader in this field. By being so focussed and by training ESRs this EID will make a direct and significant impact on the rapidly emerging drug development sector.
Our researchers are based at the University of Birmingham Medical School, UK and Somantix Ltd, The Netherlands
VAMPIRE will for the first time assemble a coherent, integrated network of biomedical scientists developing and exploiting vascular targeting technology. Thus, through VAMPIRE, many of the partners will establish new collaborations. VAMPIRE will also structure both the research and training capacity of its partners. In particular:
- Create a synergistic pan European research community linking fundamental academic research within the University sector with both commercial and charity organisations.
- Develop a powerful trianaing format combing local and network-wide training events in both oncology research and more generic research skills. This training format may be exploited more widely as an exemplar of how academic/commerical integration may lead to a deeper training experience for our early stage researchers.
- Provide an exemplar of how public and private sector training may be integrated to their mutual benefit.
- Demonstrate how pure academic research may be combined with the needs of the commercial sector to form a private/public partnership that can generate both intellectual IP and commercial for profit sales.