Magliano in Toscana, Italy
Magliano in Toscana, Italy

The Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa is a public higher learning institution in Pisa, Italy.The Scuola Normale, together with the University of Pisa and Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, is a part of the Pisa University System. It is one of the three officially sanctioned special-statute public universities in Italy, being part of the process of Superior Graduate School in Italy or Scuola Superiore Universitaria. Wikipedia.


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Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CPCSA | Phase: ICT-2013.9.9 | Award Amount: 72.73M | Year: 2013

Understanding the human brain is one of the greatest challenges facing 21st century science. If we can rise to the challenge, we can gain profound insights into what makes us human, develop new treatments for brain diseases and build revolutionary new computing technologies. Today, for the first time, modern ICT has brought these goals within sight. The goal of the Human Brain Project, part of the FET Flagship Programme, is to translate this vision into reality, using ICT as a catalyst for a global collaborative effort to understand the human brain and its diseases and ultimately to emulate its computational capabilities. The Human Brain Project will last ten years and will consist of a ramp-up phase (from month 1 to month 36) and subsequent operational phases.\nThis Grant Agreement covers the ramp-up phase. During this phase the strategic goals of the project will be to design, develop and deploy the first versions of six ICT platforms dedicated to Neuroinformatics, Brain Simulation, High Performance Computing, Medical Informatics, Neuromorphic Computing and Neurorobotics, and create a user community of research groups from within and outside the HBP, set up a European Institute for Theoretical Neuroscience, complete a set of pilot projects providing a first demonstration of the scientific value of the platforms and the Institute, develop the scientific and technological capabilities required by future versions of the platforms, implement a policy of Responsible Innovation, and a programme of transdisciplinary education, and develop a framework for collaboration that links the partners under strong scientific leadership and professional project management, providing a coherent European approach and ensuring effective alignment of regional, national and European research and programmes. The project work plan is organized in the form of thirteen subprojects, each dedicated to a specific area of activity.\nA significant part of the budget will be used for competitive calls to complement the collective skills of the Consortium with additional expertise.


So far, there are no effective treatments for neuropathic pain (NP), and current treatments suffer from serious unwanted side effects. The NGF ligand-receptor system has recently emerged as a novel target for NP of great therapeutic potential, a master regulator, controlling both neuropathic and inflammatory components. Besides being a multi-component system, it also modulates the endocannabinoid (EC) signalling. Blocking the NGF signaling system is therefore a rational and thoroughly validated approach to pain therapy. Extensive evidence for potent analgesic efficacy of antiNGF mAbs has been obtained in preclinical models and in clinical trials,showing remarkable analgesic efficacy and creating great expectations for this new class of analgesic compounds.However, potential safety concerns related to off-target side effects have been raised and recently the FDA called for more preclinical research. To fully exploit the huge therapeutic potential of NGF system, we built a consortium of leading researchers in the NGF, EC and pain scientific arena.The innovative proposal will investigate new strategies for the treatment of different NP forms, based on the NGF system and its interplay with EC signalling, focussing at different levels of the pain transmission and perception systems. The project results will provide solid, mechanism-based grounds for the development of already identified second-generation therapeutics, based on the NGF target system, as well as for the identification and validation of new druggable targets emerging from the elucidated mechanisms. It will also identify biomarkers for NP, validated in animal models and clinical samples, that could result in future clinical benefits, for the stratification of patients suffering from different neuropathies and their treatment. The project will contribute to the understanding and controlling NP mechanisms, with an interdisciplinary approach, leading to the development of next-generation NGF targeting drugs.

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