Understanding, treating and managing Diseases. Neurodegeneration (e.g. Parkinson’s disease) and cancer (e.g. glioma or melanoma) are considered societal burdens and have been identified as priority research areas and both have been proved to be related to autophagy dysfunction. Our consortium will accelerate the generation of quantitative and mechanistic studies that will help identify autophagy-based biomarkers of disease progression and novel targets for pharmacological interventions. For instance, recently, some authors pointed to ULK1 as a good candidate for determining the prognosis of patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma.

Another example is the utilization of Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to promote the activation of autophagy-associated cancer cell death. Administration of this compound to mice bearing gliomas. Hepatocellular carcinomas or BRAF wildtype melanoma xenografts, substantially inhibited tumour growth paralleled by an increase in autophagy and apoptosis in cancerous cells. These observations, warrants clinical evaluation of medicines containing THC for the treatment of glioblastomas and metastatic melanomas.

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