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LEIDEN, Netherlands

Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2014-ETN | Award Amount: 3.97M | Year: 2015

Mobility, important for well-being, is seriously impaired by chronic low back pain and osteoarthritis in many people due to degeneration of cartilaginous tissue of the intervertebral disc and joint. To develop a treatment for these diseases this ETN aims to combine expertise in novel highly advanced drug delivery carriers with dedicated targeting tools, state of the art imaging techniques and expertise in stem cell and joint biology by training 15 young scientists in 12 partner institutes located in 5 different countries. We aim to achieve regeneration of damaged and degenerated tissues by employing targeting strategies tailored both to the pathology and the tissues involved. Regeneration of diseased tissues will be achieved by loading biologically active agents in state-of-the-art nanocarriers. The biologically active agents will stimulate the bodys own capacity to regenerate by attracting local stem cells or inhibit degeneration. Targeting will be achieved by A] injection with synthetic or natural hydrogels loaded with the nanocarriers or B] coupling diseased tissue-specific antibodies and specific hyaluronic acid moieties to the nanocarriers. Delivery and retention will be monitored by advanced in vivo and molecular imaging techniques to monitor distribution of the delivered compounds at the tissue level, as well as detect biological markers of regeneration. Major objectives: 1] To establish a network of scientists skilled in the use of smart nanocarriers, unique approach of targeting by disease-specific molecules and application of innovative imaging tools. Supported by generic scientific and training in economical and clinical valorisation, these researchers can further implement these technologies in the musculoskeletal or other areas, both in academia and industry. 2] To develop strategies exclusively targeting diseased tissues with controlled doses of bio-actives, circumventing the disadvantages of the current shotgun approaches in regenerative medicine.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-IAPP | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2013-IAPP | Award Amount: 3.33M | Year: 2013

BRAINPATH aims to build upon current developments in molecular imaging by creating an academic-industrial training and mobility network for the next revolution of imaging technology. Molecular in vivo imaging is a fertile area which combines expertise, state-of-art equipment and many disciplines and inter-sector work environments. Our goal is to better understand brain diseases and develop new preclinical imaging strategies. We believe optical imaging in particular represents a technology that has the potential to exploit further our knowledge in this area. Our main objective is to train a new generation of medical imaging scientists who, within the next 10-15 years, will bring optical brain imaging to the clinic. Indeed, it is envisaged that in the future optical imaging will be implemented as the fourth clinical modality in conjunction with the three already established clinical imaging techniques of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), X-ray Computed Tomography (CT) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET). Molecular in vivo neuro-imaging is rather underdeveloped, with its challenges specific to working on the brain, compared with other organs. Optical imaging can potentially play an important role in the multimodal orchestra together with MRI, PET and CT. Light can be used to measure functional aspects of the brain by either intrinsic monitoring of physiological changes, e.g. fluorescence, absorption, or by external contrast such as the use of fluorescence probes. Importantly, optical imaging is generally non-invasive and the equipment needed for such measurements are of low cost. A final unmet need is to integrate the different imaging modalities so that complementary information can be obtained from each modality. BRAINPATH will address this need and provide novel opportunities for treating important brain diseases. We will exploit this potential through transfer of knowledge between disciplines and sectors through training a next generation of imaging scientists.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2015-ETN | Award Amount: 3.92M | Year: 2016

The basic concept of our proposal is to develop nanoparticle-based encapsulated libraries of different immunotherapeutic biomolecules for treatment after surgery as part of a novel cancer management strategy. The current state-of-art for the management of cancer starts with surgery, after identification of an accessible tumour mass. Surgery remains an effective treatment option for many types of cancer today and it is considered curative treatment for most solid tumours. It forms part of a multidisciplinary approach used in conjunction with radiotherapy or chemotherapy. These approaches, however, have several limitations, including inability of surgical resection to affect distal metastatic disease, toxicity to healthy tissues with chemotherapy and lack of effectiveness of radiation therapy in more aggressive tumours. The observation that cancer can relapse months or years after initial surgery implies that micrometastases still resides within the body in a latent state. Our proposal is to take cancer therapy to beyond state-of-art by implementing techniques which will take us into new directions. This includes a) new methods to identify immune gene profiles and biomarkers b) transgenic mouse models where the complex interactions that underlie immune function can be visualised as multiplexed events in real time and c) the use of nanoparticle-based libraries of immune modulating reagent combinations. There are three key objectives within this project: i) to use immune gene signatures to monitor disease progression and therapeutic efficacy of immunotherapy combinations on nanoparticle-based platforms, ii) to optimise the platform to encapsulate libraries of immune components for more personalised, accurate and timely delivery of the payload to its intended target and iii) to optimise the overall cancer management process of image-guided surgery followed by postoperative immunotherapy so that we can ultimately provide a lifetime of protection against cancer.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: PHC-26-2014 | Award Amount: 4.14M | Year: 2015

The increasing number of chronic patients in rheumatology calls for further development of the traditional methods for monitoring symptoms. The aim of the ELECTOR project is to develop a web-based ICT platform for home-based monitoring of self-reliant patients with rheumatoid arthritis. This will provide clinicians with a tool that can completely substitute a large proportion of the conventional visits at a rheumatologic outpatient clinic. The solution will encompass point-of-care devices for the measurement of biochemistry at home and a web-based user interface for reporting questionnaires as well as swollen and tender joints. The end result is an eHealth solution that will provide an integrated and direct collection of data into patient notes in the setup of an e-Health clinic. This solution will constitute a reliable, safe and straightforward method for obtaining self-assessments and facilitate easy and rapid access to health care assistance at times of need for the individual patient.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-RISE | Phase: MSCA-RISE-2014 | Award Amount: 2.43M | Year: 2015

The main objective and basic concept of our proposal is to improve intra-operative and post-operative targeted surgical probes and new detection systems for surgical intervention of cancer. The work revolves around the mobility of clinicians, scientists and technologists between twelve consortium partners and across four different countries. The goal is the implementation of inter-disciplinary, inter-sector, cross-training of personnel. As a consequence, this will serve to accelerate the development of improved imaging technologies and hybrid fluorescence/radionuclide probes for the surgical intervention of cancer. The hypothesis is that if we can develop a hybrid probe for both targeted image-guided surgery and post-operative molecular radiotherapy, we would be implementing a revolutionary imaging and therapeutic approach for oncology surgeons to help their patients by improving better overall survival and quality of life for the patient. There are four key objectives within this project: 1) synthesis of a near infra-red fluorescence (NIRF)-dye conjugated to a peptide that is targeted towards a tumour associated antigen, 2) deliver a novel clinical optoacoustic handheld camera to detect the fluorescence probe in deep tissue, 3) validate the probe/target combination across the subcellular, cellular, endoscopic and macroscopic levels with state-of-art technologies, and 4) develop the probe further by targeting a radionuclide entity to the fluorescent construct for postoperative radiotherapy. Surgeons would have a more definitive reference for resection, if the tumour margin can be clearly defined. If this can be achieved, the impact would be (a) reduced recurrence rates in patients by lowering the risk of residual tumour tissue remaining after surgery and as a consequence improve survival, (b) minimised removal of healthy tissues, c) reduced patient morbidity and hospital stay and d) significant health cost benefits.

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