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Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ICT-2009.3.9 | Award Amount: 9.20M | Year: 2010

Cancer remains a prominent health concern afflicting modern societies. Continuous innovations and introduction of new technologies are essential to level or even reduce current healthcare spending. As the analysis of occult tumour cells (OTC) in blood or bone marrow is most promising in this respect, MIRACLE aims to develop a low-cost, fully automated, integrated lab-on-a-chip (LOC) system for the isolation, counting and characterization of OTCs starting from clinical samples.A major challenge for OTC detection is their extremely low concentration (below a single cell per mL) in clinical samples. Current detection methods are often based on enrichment techniques followed by cumbersome microscopic analysis of the cell phenotype. Some of these procedure steps have been semi-automated (Cellsearch, J&J), but the interpretation of the cell morphology requires expertise and remains partially subjective. In contrary to standard phenotyping tests, MIRACLE aims to determine the genotype by integrating all sample processing and detection steps in a miniaturized system. This envisaged, fully-automated MIRACLE test would yield decisive results within half a day for less than 50 EUR, as compared with contemporary diagnostics tests that may take days.With the essential individual modules recently demonstrated on automated chips in a joint project by some of the partners involved (MASCOT FP6 027652), the MIRACLEs consortium is uniquely positioned to lead the projects main objectives to a successful outcome, well ahead of the current state-of-the-art. Combining the teams multidisciplinary and unique expertise avoids unnecessary overlap. Integrating all components into a fully operational LOC platform will represent an immense advance for Europe to cope with interfacing and integration problems generic to microfluidic and smart miniaturized systems. More importantly, the realisation of the MIRACLE vision will revolutionise cancer diagnostics and individualized theranostics.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-TP | Phase: HEALTH-2007-1.1-4 | Award Amount: 3.95M | Year: 2008

The PROACTIVE consortium will through research and innovation develop the multiplexed proximity ligation assay into a high throughput protein detection and quantification technology along with novel data management and analysis tools. Hundreds of putative biomarkers of the plasma proteome can then be assayed with high sensitivity in minute sample volumes, far surpassing any current capabilities. This consortium combines three SMEs across Europe with synergistic competences in technology development, reagent manufacturing, and software development for data management and analysis. Together with clinical cancer scientists, biostatisticians, and diagnostics industry, these high capacity tools will be evaluated in pilot projects for cancer biomarkers using biobanked samples. Preliminary data in the literature claim improved diagnostics with the use of multiple complementary protein markers. However, there is a lack of suitable high throughput procedures for finding new markers and discovering which markers complement each other into effective diagnostic panels. Better capabilities to diagnose cancer at the early and most curable stages will greatly improve human health and reduce health care costs. Patient stratification is also in need of better diagnostics to facilitate the selection of appropriate patient care. Many clinically used immunoassays capable of diagnosing cancer have been in use for many years as single markers but with limited sensitivity and specificity. No marker can today single-handedly diagnose all cases with desired accuracy for a certain cancer type. Also, the performance of these markers is decreased for the earliest stages of the disease. At the conclusion of this collaborative project, the research and innovation conducted within the consortium will enable the partners to position themselves at the very fore-front of high-throughput biomarker research strengthening their competitiveness in the international arena.

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