NMS researchers receive 1.5 million euros to study extracellular vesicles

Rune Matthiesen and Paulo Pereira coordinate the European project "EVCA: Diagnostic and Advanced Therapeutics based on Extracellular Vesicles" distinguished with nearly one million and a half euros by the European Call Twinning 2020.


The EVCA project aims to make NOVA Medical School a national and internationally-recognized Centre of Excellence in extracellular vesicles (EVs) in clinical applications, research and innovation. The project will be developed in collaboration with with two internationally-leading institutions, Institut Curie (IC) from France, and Center for Cooperative Research in Biosciences (CICbioGUNE), in Spain.

Extracellular vesicles are small particles that are released by various types of cells and one of their main functions is to be “messengers” between cells and organs. For this reason, EVs play a very important role in the functioning of organisms. EVs can both be used as early indicators of disease and also as therapeutic vehicles, which emphasise the importance of research in this emerging area. Thus, the EVCA project aims to fill a gap in knowledge and create, in Portugal, more specifically in NMS, a reference centre at an international level in translational and clinical research focused on the use of EV, due to its extreme potential in health.

The coordinators highlight the the transfer of knowhow and technology generated in basic research to clinical applications as one of thekey challenges of this project. Thus, EVCA will focus on promoting and strengthening the field of research in diagnosis and advanced therapies based on EVs, taking advantage of multidisciplinary knowledge, implementing and developing the best international research and training best practises and strengthening collaborative networks, with the  existing experience at IC and CICbioGUNE, leading international institutions in this area.

Rune Matthiesen and Paulo Pereira believe that this is "a unique opportunity to join efforts and increase knowledge about EVs and its potential applied to medicine and, above all, to change the national paradigm and the future of biomedical research and innovation in Portugal".

The EVCA project will place NMS on the map of international institutions leading EVs research and will foster collaborations between partner institutions.

Also funded, in the same amount, was the project “GLYCOTwinning: Building Networks to Excel in Glycoscience” coordinated by Paula Videira, Filipa Marcelo and Angelina Sá Palma, researchers from the Research Unit on Applied Molecular Biosciences (UCIBIO) at NOVA School of Science and Technology (FCT NOVA ).

Rune Matthiesen
PhD FCT investigator
Paulo Pereira
Principal Investigator