As a result of the outcome of the M-ERA.NET 3 Call 2022 international network competition in the area of material sciences and engineering carried out in cooperation with the National Science Center, the interdisciplinary project "Senolytic Nanoplatform for Identification and Elimination of Skin Cancer Zombie Cells" (acronym: Nano4Zombie) has received funding.

The project will be carried out by a consortium:

  1. Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (Zaragoza, Spain)
  2. the University of Rzeszow
  3. the University of Warsaw
  4. Latvian Biomedical Research and Study Centre (Riga, Latvia).


The project at the international level will be coordinated by Dr. Maria Moros (CSIC), and from the University of Rzeszow it will be headed by Ms. Anna Lewinska, Prof. UR, and from the University of Warsaw by Prof. Dr. Grzegorz Litwinienko as well as Prof. Aija Linē from Latvian Biomedical Research and Study Centre

Value of funding granted to UR: PLN 1,706,780.


About project

Chronic exposure to UV radiation results in an accumulation of skin senescent cells, which may lead to skin damage and increasing risk of skin cancer. On the other side, as an adverse effect, chemotherapy can also promote premature senescence of normal and cancer cells. It has recently been shown that senescent cells are tumour promoters, stimulating the growth and invasion of neighbouring cancer cells and facilitating metastasis in distal sites (such as lung) in melanoma. These senescent cells with DNA damage are often called zombie cells because they are resistant to apoptosis. Thus, the use of senolytic drugs to selectively kill senescent cells can be considered as an appealing strategy to delay the onset and progression of ageing and skin cancer. However, many senolytic drugs are characterized by chemical instability, low bioavailability in biological systems and lack of specificity. These drawbacks can be overcome by using dedicated delivery systems such as antibody-functionalized nanoparticles to specifically target senescent cells. The main goal of Nano4Zombie is the development of a new treatment against senescent cells composed by a novel nanoplatform to selectively deliver senolytic drugs to senescent cells and to potentiate the drug effect with the use of MH.