Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2015-ETN | Award Amount: 2.81M | Year: 2016
PANDORA (Probing safety of nano-objects by defining immune responses of environmental organisms) shall assess the global impact of engineered nanoparticles (NP) on the immune responses of representative organisms covering all evolutionary stages and hierarchical levels from plants to invertebrates and vertebrates. Immunity is a major determinant of the survival and fitness of all living organisms, therefore immunosafety of engineered NP is a key element of environmental nanosafety. PANDORA will tackle the issue of global immunological nanosafety by comparing the impact of widely-used NP (e.g., iron, titanium and cerium oxide) on the human immune response with their effects in representative terrestrial and marine organisms. This comparison will focus on the conserved system of innate immunity/stress response/inflammation, aiming to identify common mechanisms and markers across immune defence evolution shared by plants (Arabidopsis), invertebrate (bivalves, echinoderms, earthworms), and vertebrate (human) species. PANDORAs objectives are: 1. To identify immunological mechanisms triggered by nano-objects, and predictive markers of risk vs. safety; 2. To do so by a collaborative cross-species comparison, from plants to human, of innate immune defence capacity, using selected, industrially-relevant NP; 3. To design predictive in vitro assays to measure the immuno-risk of NP to the environment and human health, as new approaches to industrial and environmental nanosafety testing. PANDORA will train 11 PhD students in an overarching training programme involving training-by-research, joint courses of technical, scientific and transferrable skills, participation to public scientific events, and an intense intersectoral networking exchange plan. The PANDORA consortium encompasses academic institutions, research centres, and SMEs, all with proven experience in higher education and training, and state-of-the art scientific and technical expertise and infrastructures.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH.2012.2.4.3-1 | Award Amount: 7.19M | Year: 2013
MAILPAN (MAcroencapsulation of PANcreatic Islets) is a prototype of bioartificial pancreas usable in the human designed to treat type 1 diabetic patients. The prototype was developed along different stages since 1996 and led to the creation of the SME called Defymed in 2011. Next step is now to bring the prototype to the pre-clinical and clinical phases necessary to the ensuing commercialization of MAILPAN whose ultimate goal is to improve the life of at least 20 million persons in the world while providing positive effects on healthcare management and expenses, the environment and the competitiveness of the biomaterials industry. In order to reach this goal, CeeD and Defymed gathered a consortium made of seven partners from academia, clinical/public health research sector and industry/SMEs from three different European countries Belgium, France and UK. The expertise gathered include encapsulation techniques, islet isolation, cell engineering, islet transplantation, islet preconditioning, surgical implantation, and medium formulation; items that are complementary and necessary to the implementation of the present project proposal. The project proposal of a 36-month duration intends to bring the most modern and up to date improvements that the bioartificial pancreas still needs and can receive such as to enhance cells survival inside the device by formulating a new adapted cell culture medium, to further lower the rejection risk by studying the biocompatibility and anti-inflammatory mechanisms, to test the prototype in primates, and to validate its further use in humans. Safety, bio-compatibility and interoperability of MAILPAN device combined to the islets/pseudo-islets, will be assessed, in respect to the applied regulatory directives.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: IA | Phase: FTIPilot-01-2016 | Award Amount: 2.56M | Year: 2016
1. Treatment of neurodegenerative disease is an unmet clinical challenge and patient care is a growing, unsustainable global healthcare burden. The project will produce novel tools to address this challenge. 2. The consortium will deliver a set of innovative analytical tools for neurodegenerative drug discovery using a combination of stem cell biology and novel biomaterials assembled by additive manufacturing. 3. The toolset will be analytical kits containing induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived human neural cells in 3D culture formats, delivered to end-users in multiwell plates ready for industrial screening. 4. Project outputs will be realised by an inter-disciplinary consortium of four SME commercial partners in three European countries, each partner supplying a specific, essential skillset. 5. iPSC-derived neural cells will be produced by Phenocell sarl (F) using stem cell differentiation protocols already shown to generate glial or neuronal cell lineages, and to reinstate donor disease phenotypes. 6. Bio-printer instrumentation and printable bio-inks to manufacture 3D scaffolds enabling 3D cell culture will be contributed by Cellink (SE). 7. 3D culture models will be customised for neural/neurodegenerative cell culture by inclusion of peptide dendrons with biological functionality using mature chemistry proprietary to Tissue Click Ltd (UK). 8. Cell-based analysis products will be validated, and made user-friendly by in situ cell cryopreservation and analytical processes familiar to AvantiCell Science Ltd (UK). 9. Each contributing technology is at TRL 6, and each has commercial utility in simpler combinations. The project assembles them in first-to-market formats beyond the current state of the art. 10. The CENSUS project output, comprising iPSC-derived neural cells cryopreserved in single-cell and co-culture 3D formats will deliver exceptional analytical precision and predictive value, unprecedented end-user convenience and strong commercial advantage.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-ITN | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2013-ITN | Award Amount: 3.04M | Year: 2013
Nanomedicine offers capability to significantly change the course of treatment for life-threatening diseases. Many of the most significant current therapeutic targets, to be viable in practice, require the efficient crossing of at least one biological barrier. However, the efficient and controlled crossing of the undamaged barrier is difficult. The range of small molecules that can successfully do so (via diffusive or other non-specific processes) is limited in size and physiochemical properties, greatly restricting the therapeutic strategies that may be applied. In practice, after several decades of limited success, there is a broad consensus that new multi-disciplinary, multi-sectoral strategies are required. Key needs include detailed design and understanding of the bionano-interafce, re-assessment of in vitro models used to assess transport across barriers, and building regulatory considerations into the design phase of nanocarriers. The overarching premises of the PathChooser ITN are that (i) significant advances can only be made by a more detailed mechanistic understanding of key fundamental endocytotic, transcytotic, and other cellular processes, especially biological barrier crossing; (ii) elucidating the Mode of Action / mechanism of successful delivery systems (beyond current level) will ensure more rapid regulatory and general acceptance of such medicines. Paramount in this is the design and characterization of the in situ interface between the carrier system and the uptake and signalling machinery. (iii) inter-disciplinary knowledge from a range of scientific disciplines is required to launch a genuine attack on the therapeutic challenge. The PathChooser ITN program of research and training will equip the next generation of translational scientists with the tools to develop therapies for a range of currently intractable (e.g. hidden in the brain) and economically unviable diseases (e.g. orphan diseases affecting a limited population).
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH.2013.1.3-2 | Award Amount: 6.19M | Year: 2013
Diabetes is caused by insufficient or lack of insulin secretion by the specialized B cells of the pancreas and, if not treated adequately evolves into in complications which alter patients integrity and wellness. Treatment is based on lifetime drugs administration for blood glucose control or parenteral infusion of insulin to better control glucose levels and glycosylation of hemoglobin. Artificial pancreases are in development but still dependent by external energy sources and need permanent transcutaneous access to release the hormone. Pancreatic whole organ transplantation is a major intervention requiring selected recipient and matched cadaveric donor which keep numbers down. Islet of Langerhans transplantation is a non-invasive method for the treatment of type 1 diabetes but several questions remain and several issues have to be addressed in order to improve the method since islet engraftment is clearly suboptimal, as a result of pro-apoptotic and pro-inflammatory stimuli sustained during islet isolation and at the site of implantation, the long-term islet graft function drops to 15% with time, and the current systemic immunosuppressive regimen has several drawbacks in terms of side effects. Solution should be find to increase transplantation efficiency with an higher number of islet, eventually from animals, induce tolerance toward the graft, avoiding systemic, lifetime immunosuppression and, lowering a specific inflammatory reaction and enhancing graft micro vasculogenesis to improve islet nesting. NEXT provides a 360 solution to the pitfalls of current methodology for pancreatic islet transplantation: i) Nano technologies, to engineer donor cell surfaces in order to derange recognition and suppress their rejection; ii) Advanced tissue engineering methods, to assemble bio synthetic islet, enriched by chimeric microvasculature; iii) Innovative double immune-suppressive strategy by graft - bound immunosuppressive nano peptides and shielded by self- vasculature
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2014-ETN | Award Amount: 3.78M | Year: 2015
The cell nucleus is organized and compartmentalized into a highly ordered structure that contains DNA, RNA, chromosomal and histone proteins which make up a structure called chromatin. The dynamics associated with these various components are responsible for regulating physiological processes and the overall stability of the genome. The destabilization of such regulatory mechanisms that act on the chromatin structure are implicated in pathologies such as cancer. Higher order organization of chromatin results in chromosomes which occupy discrete territories within the cell nucleus. Most nuclear processes occur or at least being initiated onto the chromosomes which makes them the main organizing factors in the nucleus. Several proteins that are involved in the replication of DNA, gene transcription and the processing of RNA are found enriched in discrete focal structures. An emerging question is how these structures assemble and are maintained in the absence of membranes and moreover what are the kinetics of stable binding and/or rapid exchange of their components. The dynamic assembly and modification of chromatin during developmental processes as well as the deregulation of such chromatin dynamics during the onset of disease lacks mechanistic insights at present. To address these questions we have put forward a multidisciplinary approach which involves molecular, cellular and systems level approaches by assembling a group of scientists from academia and industry with cross disciplinary expertise and capabilities.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2016 | Award Amount: 2.86M | Year: 2017
The consolidation of the knowledge that cancer is not only a genetic, but also a metabolic disease, has led scientists to investigate the intricate metabolic plasticity that transformed cells must undergo to survive the adverse tumor microenvironment conditions, and the contribution of oncogenes and tumor suppressors in shaping metabolism. In this scenario, genetic, biochemical and clinical evidences place mitochondria as key actors in cancer metabolic restructuring, not only because these organelles have a crucial role in the energy and biosynthetic intermediates production but also because occurrence of mutations in metabolic enzymes encoded by both nuclear and mitochondrial DNA has been associated to different types of cancer. TRANSMIT aims to dissect the metabolic remodeling in human cancers, placing the focus on the role of mitochondria and bridging basic research to the improvement/development of therapeutic strategies. Further, TRANSMIT fosters the communication of this emerging field to the patients and their families. To these aims, TRANSMIT will create a network of seven different countries, among which world-leading basic science and clinical centers of excellence, several industrial partners with up-to-date omics technologies, as well as non-profit foundations and associations who care for cancer patients. By creating the critical mass of scientific excellence, TRANSMIT will allow to transfer the current knowledge into the wide field of cancer research, translating scientific and technical advances into the education and training of eleven Early Stage Researchers. TRANSMIT will implement training-through-research dedicated to unravel the metabolic features of cancer, as well as to provide a full portfolio of complementary skills through the creation of a network of basic, translational and industrial laboratories, devoted to a multidisciplinary/multisectorial education of young scientists.
Agency: GTR | Branch: Innovate UK | Program: | Phase: Feasibility Study | Award Amount: 106.53K | Year: 2014
Cell-based analysis is a key technology in preclinical development of new drugs and healthcare products. By use of ethically-sourced human cells it is an attractive alternative to, and replacement for, animal testing. There is incentive to make cell-based analysis models as tissue-like as possible, making them 3-dimensional instead of conventional 2D cell cultures. This should confer analysis based on these models with high predictive value, but this increases the technical difficulty, and the time and resource needed to assemble the models. The project will test the feasibility of manufacturing cell-based analysis models by additive printing of both the cells and their supporting biological scaffolds into the multiwell culture dishes typically used in preclinical screening of candidate drugs. A successful demonstration of additive printing in this context will create opportunity to build new cost-effective, automatable manufacturing processes for cell-based systems. This innovation will have significant commercial value in a market sector worth >$2Bn world-wide; it will also increase end-user screening efficiency and, in so doing, reduce new drug development costs and shorten development time.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-ITN | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2012-ITN | Award Amount: 1.07M | Year: 2013
HUMUNITY is a PhD school which shall train young scientists in novel approaches to the study of human mucosal immunity by the use of advanced engineered human cell culture models. The scientific goal is to develop integrated cell-biological models in which cultured human primary cells mimic the architecture and the interactions of the original tissue, by uniting powerful classical cell culture skills, innovative material science and advanced high-content detection systems. Specifically, students will study the innate inflammatory response to agents presented at mucosal surfaces of lung and gut, in both healthy and pathological conditions, by implementing novel in vitro systems that robustly reproduce the reactivity of human tissues in vivo. These models will also have multiple industrially-exploitable applications, from preclinical testing of candidate therapeutics in personalised medicine approaches to screening of drugs and biosafety assessment, thereby reducing significantly the need of animal experimentation. Four trainees will experience an intersectoral training programme encompassing a 18-month internship in a UK SME expert in isolation and culture of human primary cells (AvantiCell Science), and 18 months in academic institutions (the Italian research organisation CNR, with secondments to the Universities of Pisa and Salzburg). Trainees enrolled in the PhD programme in Clinical Physiopathology and Pharmacology at the University of Pisa will engage in training-by-research, and will participate in a series of scientific and technical training courses provided by each institution, in addition to joint scientific meetings and transferable skills courses organised by the associated management partner ALTA. Eventually, fellows will gain experience in technology transfer when moving their prototypical systems to commercially exploitable assest relevant to different industry sectors, from pharmaceuticals through food and healthcare to environmental safety.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: SME-2 | Phase: NMP-25-2015 | Award Amount: 2.99M | Year: 2015
The Project shall develop a unique manufacturing solution for the automated production of complex cell models widely used by industry to test biological activity and biosafety. No means of scalable manufacture presently exists. The technical solution is to assemble cell models by additive manufacturing; to control the resident cells locations within these 3D models; to supply the models to customers as pre-assembled, frozen products. The result shall be an analytical tool which, unlike current practice, does not compromise analytical output for convenience, but combines high predictive value and low cost with exceptional user-friendliness. The solution is unique, proprietary and highly positive-disruptive in its industrial sector. Its achievement will be measurable in this Project as an exemplifying, printed hepatotoxicity assay with wide application in drug discovery and biosafety testing. An SME Instrument Phase 1 Project advanced the core printing technology delivering this solution to TRL7, and developed a business plan for its exploitation. That business plan confirmed the wide, cross-industry application of cell-based analysis, from preclinical drug discovery through natural products/food to medical devices and nanosafety, and mapped the advantages of additively-manufactured products onto demonstrable industry trends and customer needs. The business plan and its underpinning technology are founded in the applicants long-term strategic goals, evidenced by profitable business in the target market from proprietary cell-based services, and by ancillary technology developments, also to TRL7 and supported by UK national funding, which create unique competitive advantage. The outcome of this Phase 2 Project will be a mature cell-based manufacturing technology, its demonstrable application in a commercial environment, and the assembly of a corporate infrastructure ready to take the Projects manufacturing solution into a well-scoped and lucrative marketplace.