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Barcelona, Spain

Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: ICT-26-2014 | Award Amount: 3.39M | Year: 2015

The diagnosis and management of acute Sepsis is a critical area where fast and accurate results can translate into life changing health outcomes for individuals. The overall aim of RAIS is to develop a new point-of-care label-free microarray platform and validate it for quantifying levels of specific Sepsis biomarkers. The approach uses a novel interferometric technique ultimately capable of providing very large arrays of tests. Specific objectives and activities include: (i) an optical microarray reader based on a disruptive proprietary design combining interferometric lens-free microscopy and proximity CCD or CMOS image sensing; (ii) a microarray plate, in a proper microfluidic cartridge, consisting of a transparent slide with a novel nano-structured surface geometry to increase the detection sensitivity and covered by specific receptors to capture bio-markers; (iii) their integration in a portable and battery powered label free microarray platform potentially capable of measuring more than 1 million bio-targets simultaneously. The developed technology will be capable to detect micro-ribonucleic acids (microRNAs), interleukins and other specific proteins associated to Sepsis using a few microliters of blood or serum samples, in a concentration of a few pg/ml, within 30 minutes (sample to result) and at a cost per patient of less than 50. In this way, patients will be put on the right treatment more rapidly, potentially reducing the Sepsis mortality rate of more than 70%, with estimated cost savings of more than 10 billion per year as a consequence of shorter hospital stays, reduced use of unnecessary drugs and lower associated insurance bills. The technical approach, targeted device, application and the addressed market sector are perfectly in line with the call H2020-ICT-2014-1 - Photonics KET - Biophotonics for screening of diseases: Mobile, low-cost point-of-care screening devices for reliable, fast and non- or minimally-invasive detection of diseases.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-IRSES | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2010-IRSES | Award Amount: 536.30K | Year: 2012

Over the past 20 years there has been a dramatic rise in the incidence of Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), both in EU and NZ. IBD refers primarily to two major disorders such as ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohns disease (CD), chronic conditions characterized by inflammatory lesions involving gut mucosa. CD is also an emerging problem amongst children. Etiology of IBD is still unknown, however several studies demonstrate multifactorial mechanisms contributing to its pathogenesis (i.e. immunoregulatory defects, genetic mutations, dysbiosis of commensal enteric microbiota, alterations in mucosal permeability, alimentary factors). The complexity of these factors makes necessary for a researcher to acquire the widest spectrum of advanced techniques enabling the deeper understanding of IBD onset and recurrence and developing useful therapeutic strategies. Both Eu and NZ have significantly contribute to IBD research advances, by developing outstanding research expertise and being equipped with the most advance methodological tools. REINFORCE consortium is a multidisciplinary scientific network, in which each partner is a leader in IBD mechanisms. The high level of synergies within REINFORCE consortium, highlighting the cross-talk among different disciplines, will provide a multidisciplinary training for EU and NZ researchers. This joint exchange programme represents a unique opportunity to lead to a high degree of novelty in IBD training by allowing to build up a new profile of researcher able to tackle the different aspects of IBD. REINFORCE has settled down a series of specific and technical objectives which will guarantee the ESRs and ERs to be provided with training tools ensuring the use of the most advanced molecular and cellular techniques. Training modules will concern: (i) IBD Modulation of Immune response, (ii) IBD Characterization and modulation of gut microbiota, (iii) IBD intestinal epithelial barrier, (iv) Nutrition and genetics on IBD.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH.2013.2.3.0-1 | Award Amount: 5.06M | Year: 2013

FLUTCORE will develop a novel universal influenza A virus (IAV) vaccine based on the tandem core vaccine platform. Recent influenza pandemics have emphasized the urgent need for better vaccines that are reactive with multiple IAV subtypes and that are no longer dependent on intimate knowledge of the prevalent virus. We propose to replace the existing seasonal IAV vaccine with a virus like particle (VLP) carrying several invariant universal influenza antigens. Previous attempts to use these targets have failed due to the poor antigen expression and immunogenicity. The highly immunogenic tandem core system overcomes this limitation. Specifically, we propose to develop a VLP carrying two or more invariant influenza antigens, express these in yeast and then examine immunogenicity in mice. The vaccine will be further tested in the rigorous ferret system before being scaled up for manufacture. An optimal clone will then be transferred to an accredited contract manufacturer for production. A phase I clinical trial will be carried out once pre-clinical toxicology has been successfully completed. Our consortium will examine the immune responses in both animals and humans thoroughly to ensure that the vaccine candidate chosen can produce a protective IAV immune response in all individuals. To achieve these objectives, our proposal builds upon the complementary expertise of seven high-performing partners representing four European countries, with world leadership in HBV core biology, immunological analysis, commercial manufacture and influenza clinical trials, making our consortium ideally positioned to develop the vaccine and to take it from bench to bedside. The leading role of SMEs in the consortium will ensure that the technology developed by FLUTCORE will generate highly marketable products, offering both improved patient protection and long-term cost savings for health care in Europe once annual influenza vaccines are replaced.

Fanconi anemia (FA) is a rare inherited syndrome characterized by the early development of bone marrow failure and increasing predisposition to cancer with age. Allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (alloHCT) is the only curative therapy for hematopoietic manifestations of FA, although associated with complications arising from myeloablation, graft versus host disease and increased incidence of squamous cell carcinoma. The genetic correction of autologous hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) with lentiviral vectors constitutes a recent and safe alternative for the treatment of different genetic diseases affecting mature cells from different tissues and/or committed progenitors of the hematopoietic system. One of the key features of FA that make it a unique disease for gene therapy approaches rely on the characteristic proliferation defect that is already evident in the very primitive HSCs. Thus, a marked survival advantage would be expected from corrected HSCs, potentially allowing normalization of hematopoiesis in the absence or after mild conditioning. Difficulties in the collection of sufficient numbers of HSC from FA patients and the use of sub-optimal transduction protocols with gammaretroviral vectors limited the success of FA gene therapy trials conducted 10 years ago in the USA. Our innovative approach to develop for the first time an efficient and safe gene therapy of FA is based on two recent innovations: 1) Discovery of potent HSC mobilizers, such as plerixafor, and 2) Development of a new lentiviral vector by members of this Consortium, designed as Orphan Drug by the EC in December 2010. The principal objective of this Project is, therefore, the development of a multicentric Phase I/II gene therapy trial for FA-A patients, based on the genetic correction of plerixafor\G-CSF mobilized HSCs with the novel lentiviral vector, accompanied by comprehensive and groundbreaking safety and efficacy patient monitoring studies.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: PHC-06-2014 | Award Amount: 2.95M | Year: 2015

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is an important public health problem worldwide, especially in older people. Indeed, population aging in industrialized countries is accompanied by an increase in the prevalence of CKD and its complications. Although its prevalence and the importance of an early diagnosis to prevent complications such as end-renal stage disease (ESRD), screening programme in Europe are highly heterogeneous, fragmented, being in most cases based on opportunistic rather than structured assessments of patients. The main objective of the SCOPE project is to evaluate a large scale screening programme for CKD in the older population (age 75\) in Europe. Specific objectives are (i) to assess existing methodologies to screen for CKD among older adults, including the use of Comprehensive Geriatric Assessments (CGA); (ii) to investigate innovative biomarkers potentially useful for CKD screening; (iii) to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of CKD screening in a population at high risk of kidney function decline and ESRD; (iv) to provide evidence for further development of European recommendations, as well as an education programme in this field. This will be achieved also thanks to the creation of a large observational database including a cohort of older people aged 75 years or more, enrolled within the framework of an observational, multinational, multicenter, prospective study with a 2-year follow up. The SCOPE database will include a CGA-based screening and a collection of biological samples at baseline and at regular intervals during the study. The SCOPE project will provide evidence for the increased use, or discontinuation of, existing screening and prevention programmes in the field of CKD, allowing informed decisions by policymakers. It will contribute to capacity building in the assessment of such screening and prevention programmes in an equitable and cost-effective manner, thus improving health outcomes in the older European population.

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