A Report on the congress “RiminiPeptides2018”

The congress “RiminiPeptides2018” takes stock of the applications of peptides and conjugates for tumor targeting, therapy and diagnosis

The congress “RiminiPeptides2018” took place in Rimini from 16th to 18th June 2018, in the Campus of Rimini of the University of Bologna, via Angherà 22, Rimini, involving over 130 participants from Europe (Italy, Germany, France, Spain, UK, Finland, Hungary, Sweden, Portugal, San Marino, and Switzerland), USA, Australia, Iran, China, and Korea. The congress was organized in 4 plenary presentations, 4 keynote presentations, 15 lectures, 7 short communications, and 51 posters in the dedicated session. Of the speakers, 9 were invited from academy or industry: Annette Beck-Sickinger, Gavin Bennett, Angelo Corti, Renata Pasqualini & Wadih Arap, Hendrik Jan Houthoff, Anna Maria Papini, Didier Boturyn, Jesus M. de la Fuente. Since the 16th of June was dedicated to accommodation, registration and kick-off workshop, and finally to a welcome cocktail party, all scientific sessions were distributed over the 17th and 18th of June, Day1 and Day2, respectively.


The Chairpersons, Prof. Norbert Sewald (Bielefelfd University) and Cesare Gennari (Milano University) opened the congress. The first session (Chairperson: Torsten Hechler, HD Pharma), started with the plenary presentation given by Annette Beck-Sickinger (Leipzig University), with a talk about the human neuropeptide Y1 receptor and tumor targeting. After that, Hendrik Jan Houthoff (LinXis BV, Amsterdam) gave the first keynote presentation about metal-organic linker for drug targeting. Franca Zanardi (Parma University) gave a lecture about a new strategy to delivery sunitinib. The second session (Chairperson: Laura Belvisi, Milan University), saw the lectures of Cesare Gennari (Milano University) and Umberto Piarulli (Insubria University), about integrin ligands for tumor targeting in different perspectives. Subsequently, Paolo Calligari (Roma Tor Vergata University), discussed peptide inhibitors for oncogenic protein tyrosine phosphatase SHP2, while Alessandro Contini (Milano University) reported on molecular dynamic simulations for the conformational analyses of synthetic peptides. In the afternoon session (Chairperson: Ines Neundorf, Cologne University), the second plenary presentation by Gavin Bennett (Bicycle Therapeutics Inc., Cambridge) proposed novel therapeutics for solid tumours using bicycle toxin conjugates. During the second keynote presentation, AnnaMaria Papini (Firenze University) showed octreotide analogs for tumor pre-targeting. Subsequently, Jacqueline Wilce (Monash University) gave a lecture about bicyclic peptides targeting GRB7, and Nermin Seda Kehr (Münster University) discussed about nanobiomaterials for biomedical applications.

The last session of Day1 (Chairperson: Gabor Mezö, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest), started with Uli Kazmaier (Saarland University), which gave a lecture about stereoselective peptide modifications and synthesis, then Ernesto G. Occhiato (Firenze University) reported about cyclopropane pipecolic acids as conformationally restricted amino acids for peptidomimetics. Finally, Massimo Serra (Pavia University) gave a short communication about a new synthetic strategy for azabicycloalkanone amino acids. Day1 was concluded by the conference social dinner, taking place at H. Sporting, Marina Centro, Rimini.

From top: official conference photo; moments of the scientific sessions; Tiberius bridge; poster session; Prof. Arap; the winners of the “best poster presentations” A. Raposo Moreira Dias and Lilla Pethő.


The morning session of Day2 (Chairperson: Vincenzo Tumiatti, Bologna University – Rimini Campus), started with the plenary presentation by Angelo Corti (San Raffaele Hospital, Milano), about targeted delivery of cytokines to tumor vessels with peptide-based vehicles. During the third keynote presentation, Didier Boturyn (Grenoble-Alpes University, CNRS), analyzed multi-RGD-macrocycle scaffolds for biological application. Then, Norbert Sewald (Bielefeld University) gave a lecture about RGD-cryptophycin conjugates for targeted tumor therapy. The sixth scientific session (Chairperson: Pirjo Laakkonen, Helsinki University), saw the lecture of Christian Steinkühler (Exiris, Rome) about antibody and peptide conjugates targeting cancer stem cells. The session continued with Harald Kolmar (Technische Universitat Darmstadt), which proposed biopolymeric antibody-drug conjugates: from toxin-armed dextran to immunotoxins, and with Barbara Korsak (Heidelberg Pharma), reporting of DUPA-α-amanitin conjugates for targeted prostate cancer therapy. The short communication by Monica Baiula (Bologna University), about agonist and antagonist RGD-ligands of α5β1 integrin, followed by the short communication of Sabine Schuster (Eötvös Loránd University), about oxime bond linked daunorubicin-GnRH-III conjugates, and finally by the short communication of Ivan Randelovic (National Institute of Oncology, Budapest), about the effect of GnRH-III peptide-drug conjugates on tumor growth, concluded the session. In the afternoon session (Chairperson: Vincenzo Summa, IRBM, Rome), Renata Pasqualini and Wadih Arap (Rutgers University) delivered their joint plenary presentation dedicated to the activity of their group, in particular to ligand-directed therapy and molecular imaging based on in vivo phage display technology. And Jesus M. de la Fuente (Zaragoza University) gave the last keynote presentation about functional magnetic and gold nanoparticles as tools against cancer. Then, Hans-Georg Lerchen (Bayer, Germany) reported about small-molecule and antibody-drug conjugates for payload, linker and target, while Fernando Formaggio (Padova University) discussed the fine tuning of peptaibols for tumor targeting. The last part of the congress (Chairperson: Daria Giacomini, Bologna University), included the poster session, during which the selection board (Daria Giacomini, Jackie Wilce, Franca Zanardi) assessed over 50 posters. Finally, Ali Dehshahri (Shiraz Medical University) gave his lecture about targeted plasmid DNA delivery by using decorated polyethylenimine, and Erik Jurgons (Intavis bioanalytical instruments AG) proposed customized cancer vaccines in cancer therapy.

“RiminiPeptides2018”, was concluded by the closing remark of the president of the Organizing Committee Luca Gentilucci (Bologna University), which also awarded the principal authors of the “best poster presentations” Lilla Pethő (PO39, Synthesis and in vitro biological effect of GnRH-protoporphyrin IX conjugates) and A. Raposo Moreira Dias (PO18, Tumor targeting with RGD-paclitaxel conjugates bearing an extracellularly cleavable linker).

Contributed by Luca Gentilucci & Junwei Zhao

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