University of Catania
Follow us

National Center for Gene Therapy and Drugs based on RNA Technology

National Center for Gene Therapy and Drugs based on RNA Technology
national research
PNRR - Centri nazionali
Avviso pubblico MUR n. 3138 del 16/12/2021per la presentazione di Proposte di intervento per il Potenziamento di strutture di ricerca e creazione di “campioni nazionali” di R&S su alcune Key Enabling Technologies da finanziare nell’ambito del Piano Nazionale di Ripresa e Resilienza, Missione 4 Componente 2 Investimento 1.4 “Potenziamento strutture di ricerca e creazione di "campioni nazionali di R&S" su alcune Key Enabling Technologies” finanziato dall’Unione europea – NextGenerationEU.
Main ERC field: 
Life Sciences
Unict role: 
Duration (months): 
Start date: 
Tuesday, November 1, 2022
End date: 
Sunday, November 30, 2025
Total cost: 
€ 328.814.550,40
Unict cost: 
€ 1.583.044,91
Università di Padova
Principal investigator in Unict: 
Prof. Massimo Libra
University department involved: 
Department of Biomedical and Biotechnological Sciences
Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences
Department of Drug Sciences
Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine
Department of General Surgery and Medical-Surgical Specialties
  • Università degli Studi di Catanzaro "Magna Graecia"
  • Università degli Studi di Bari
  • Università degli Studi di Bologna
  • Università degli Studi di Brescia
  • Università degli Studi di Cagliari
  • Università della Campania "Luigi Vanvitelli"
  • Università degli Studi di Chieti - Pescara "Gabriele D’Annunzio"
  • Università degli Studi di Firenze
  • Università degli Studi di Milano
  • Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca
  • Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia
  • Università degli Studi di Napoli "Federico II"
  • Università degli Studi di Palermo
  • Università degli Studi di Pisa
  • Università degli Studi di Pavia
  • Università degli Studi di Roma "La Sapienza"
  • Università degli Studi di Roma "Tor Vergata"
  • Università degli Studi di Salerno
  • Università degli Studi di Siena
  • Università degli Studi di Torino
  • Università degli Studi di Trieste
  • Università degli Studi di Verona
  • Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche
  • Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele
  • Humanitas University
  • Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia
  • Ospedale Pediatrico Bambino Gesù
  • Fondazione Ri.MED
  • Fondazione Tettamanti
  • Fondazione Telethon
  • Dompè Farmaceutici
  • Takis Biotech
  • Chiesi Farmaceutici
  • Eurofins Biolab
  • Novartis International
  • Pfizer
  • Stevanato Group
  • PBL
  • Innovavector
  • Sanofi
  • Astrazeneca
  • Bracco
  • BioNTech
  • Antares Vision Group
  • Orgenesis Italy
  • IRBM
  • Intesa Sanpaolo


The National Center for the Development of Gene Therapy and RNA-based Drugs conducts research in strategically important areas for the country to produce therapies or devise procedures for human health, integrating therapy development with precision delivery. It aims to create and renew research infrastructures and laboratories, develop research programs and activities to foster the emergence and growth of technology-intensive entrepreneurial initiatives (innovative start-ups and research spin-offs), and promote the valorization of research results in specified fields.

The Center focuses its activities on high-value innovative areas, such as gene therapy applied to cancer treatment or hereditary diseases, and RNA-based technologies, integrating advanced biocomputing and intelligent nanomaterials expertise. In the selected strategic areas, the Center aspires to become a leading excellence and reference point for Europe to enhance our country's competitiveness in the development of cutting-edge drugs.

The personnel of the University of Catania actively participate in the activities of Spoke 2 "Cancer," engaging in research aimed at developing genetic therapies and drugs based on RNA technology, with the main goal of combating cancer in all its forms. In this context, the Center is committed to building a strong knowledge base in advanced gene therapy technologies, focusing on RNA-based gene expression modulation techniques targeting molecular entities associated with the development and progression of neoplastic pathologies. The project also aims to identify and develop RNA-based drugs, such as non-coding RNA (miRNAs, lncRNA, etc.) inhibitors or antisense oligonucleotides, to target specific genes involved in cancer progression using personalized care approaches through high-throughput and highly sensitive molecular analysis techniques.

Transversal objectives also include creating networks of collaboration between national and international scientific institutions and research centers, as well as providing training to young researchers with expertise and advanced skills in the field of gene therapy and RNA pharmacology.

Finally, the Center is committed to ensuring fair and sustainable access to new genetic therapies and RNA-based drugs for all patients who can benefit from them. This includes negotiating treatment costs with health authorities and implementing strategies to reduce drug production costs.

Through the achievement of these objectives, the National Center for the Development of Gene Therapy and RNA-based Drugs, Spoke Cancer, aims to revolutionize the approach to the fight against cancer, providing innovative, targeted, and personalized therapeutic options, with the ultimate goal of improving the quality of life for patients affected by this devastating disease.