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Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: PHC-03-2015 | Award Amount: 6.47M | Year: 2015

RELENT is multidisciplinary group of scientists and clinical investigators whose goal is to develop individualized treatment for chronic autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and vasculitis, that cause considerable mortality and morbidity, both from uncontrolled disease and treatment associated co-morbidities, like infection and malignancy. This requires the need to stratify patients by their outcome and to tailor immunosuppression based on much deeper knowledge of the mechanisms that control initiation and persistence of the pathogenic immune responses. The RELENT Consortium has been formed to generate this knowledge with the ultimate goal of developing treatments tailored to the specific needs of individual patients. RELENT combines the resources of seven leading European Investigators and two from US and Australia whose expertise is not available elsewhere in the world but necessary for the ambitious work program. Three SMEs will supply specific reagents and translate the results to biomarker development. This will enable RELENT to deliver its four specific research aims, namely to: i) Combine subset analysis of genome wide association studies with classical cell biology to uncover pathways that influence and ii) use multiplexed antigen arrays, whole proteome analysis and rapid mass analysis to identify protein signatures that predict outcome and response to treatment in chronic autoimmune disease. iii) Characterise T and B cell abnormalities that predispose to autoimmunity and infection by studying the ageing immune system in health and disease. iv) Analyse pathogenic effector T cells and their control by macrophages and dendritic cells and the molecules they secrete using in vivo models. We anticipate to identify common mechanisms responsible for the persistence and outcomes in severe autoimmune and inflammatory diseases in females and males and that the results should be rapidly translatable into clinical practice for the benefit of patients.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-IAPP | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2009-IAPP | Award Amount: 2.59M | Year: 2010

The project seeks to create a novel, efficacious vaccine against influenza virus; a new type of synthetic vaccine readily adaptable to meet whichever influenza virus subtype may arise. A new generation of RNA-replicon technology will be employed combined with nanoparticles and innovative adjuvants for targeting of dendritic cells and efficient antigen expression. The consortium comprises two SMEs and two academic institutions each having unique and patented expertise such as replicon technology, nanoparticle technology, adjuvant chemistry, and surface modification chemistry to attach targeting moieties. As a highly interdisciplinary project, extensive exchange of knowledge between the project partners will be required in particular between product focused SMEs (nanoparticles, adjuvants) and technology excellence of academic institutions (replicon technology, surface modification chemistry).

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH.2010.2.4.5-2 | Award Amount: 7.76M | Year: 2010

This proposal builds on existing expertise and collaborations of a multidisciplinary Consortium of basic scientists and clinical investigators each of whom has made a substantial individual contribution to understanding the links between infection and autoimmunity. The aim of the INTRICATE Consortium is to prosecute a programme of Translational Research that deliniates the role of infection in the induction and perpetuation of severe systemic autoimmune disease with the ultimate object of identifying new therapeutic strategies based on knowledge of pathogenesis. Our strategy will systematically analyse the complex and diverse processes involved in a model human disease: - Anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA) associated systemic vasculitis (AAV). AAV is ideally suited because it is known to be caused by autoantibodies of defined specificity and second because it is strongly linked to infection to infection. INTRICATE will use mouse models to answer the specific question whether infection with clinically relevant bacteria induces autoimmune disease in transgenic mice that express the human autoantigen. The use of novel high-throughput antigen array technology in well-characterized patient cohorts and analysis of microbial and host specific mechanisms combined with genome wide association study (GWAS) will determine whether dysbiosis or infection with specific microorganisms triggers the induction or re-activation of AAV. Unraveling the pathogenic processes that are responsible for this chronic autoimmune disease and the knowledge gained will lead to the development of novel preventive and therapeutic strategies.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: NMP.2011.1.4-4 | Award Amount: 4.91M | Year: 2012

Over 60 million of citizens in the EU suffer from hearing loss with its associated restrictions. In severe cases, hearing can only be restored by surgically implanting a neuroprosthesis called cochlear implant, which directly stimulates the auditory nerve. The bottleneck for optimal stimulation is caused by the anatomical gap between the electrode array and the auditory neurons in the inner ear. As a consequence, current devices are limited through (i) low frequency resolution, hence poor sound quality and (ii), strong signal amplification, hence high energy consumption responsible for significant battery costs and for impeding the development of fully implantable systems. Recent findings indicate that auditory nerve fibres can grow under neurotrophin stimulation towards the electrodes, which opens the door to address all issues simultaneously. NANOCI aims at developing a neuroprosthesis with a gapless interface to auditory nerve fibres. The neurites will be attracted and guided by an innovative, nanostructured gel matrix containing diffusible and surface-bound neurotrophic compounds towards the functionalized, neurotrophic electrode array surface. The long-lasting operation without interface degradation, reduced biofouling and improved conductivity will be achieved by nanostructuring the array surface using (i) various functional nanomaterials, including carbon nanotubes, combined with (ii) structuration methodologies such as ion implantation and sacrificial nanoparticle embedding in parylene, SOLID (solid on liquid deposition) encapsulation, and sonochemistry. Components will be validated using appropriate bioassays including human auditory neurons in vitro. In parallel, software models will be developed to exploit the bidirectional, gapless interface. Fusing all developments, an animal-grade, pilot nanoCI-device is manufactured and tested in vivo. This will allow to assess the feasibility of a future, cost-efficient, and fully implantable neuroprosthesis with substantially increased sound quality.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-ITN | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2013-ITN | Award Amount: 3.59M | Year: 2013

ImResFun shall provide state-of-the-art training in infectious disease research and medical immunology targeting the most common human fungal pathogens, the opportunistic Candida species. The key objectives of ImResFun are: (i) to understand how immune cells and infected organs respond to invasion by Candida spp, (ii) to decipher host-defense mechanisms mediating pathogen elimination, and (iii) to identify genetic networks driving the dynamics of host-pathogen interplay. ImResFun will exploit cutting-edge technologies to unravel the basic mechanisms of fungal pathogenesis and host immunity, and to improve diagnosis and identify novel biomarkers of infection. Importantly, ImResFun will translate research into clinical practice and identify potential targets for antifungal drug discovery. ImResFun has seven WPs. In addition to coordination (WP7), research will cover molecular mechanisms of host-pathogen interactions using dual-system infection biology in vitro and in vivo (WP1), clinical patient setting and age-related infections (WP2), chemical biology and antifungal drug development (WP3), and bioinformatics and genome-wide data analysis (WP4). A compulsory and tailor-made practical course (WP5) and complementary skills (WP6) program will boost hypothesis-driven projects. Meaningful exposure to the private sector is ensured by extensive secondments of all ESRs/ERs. The resulting reciprocal technology transfer will be beneficial for both SMEs and ESR/ER hosts and sustain collaborations among partners. ImResFun will use personalized career development plans for each ESR/ER to train entrepreneurial scientists capable of translating frontier research into clinical practice, biotechnology and drug discovery. Taken together, ImResFun offers a best-practice example for interdisciplinary, intersectorial and supradisciplinary training in understanding the immunology of microbial infectious diseases, since most approaches are amenable to other microbial pathogens.

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