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LONDON, United Kingdom

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: HEALTH-2011.2.2.1-2 | Award Amount: 24.91M | Year: 2012

The goal of this proposal (INMiND) is to carry out collaborative research on molecular mechanisms that link neuroinflammation with neurodegeneration in order to identify novel biological targets for activated microglia, which may serve for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes, and to translate this knowledge into the clinic. The general objectives of INMiND are: (i) to identify novel mechanisms of regulation and function of microglia under various conditions (inflammatory stimuli; neurodegenerative and -regenerative model systems); (ii) to identify and implement new targets for activated microglia, which may serve for diagnostic (imaging) and therapeutic purposes; (iii) to design new molecular probes (tracers) for these novel targets and to implement and validate them in in vivo model systems and patients; (iv) to image and quantify modulated microglia activity in patients undergoing immune therapy for cognitive impairment and relate findings to clinical outcome. Within INMiND we bring together a group of excellent scientists with a proven background in efficiently accomplishing common scientific goals (FP6 project DiMI, www.dimi.eu), who belong to highly complementary fields of research (from genome-oriented to imaging scientists and clinicians), and who are dedicated to formulate novel image-guided therapeutic strategies for neuroinflammation related neurodegenerative diseases. The strength of this proposal is that, across Europe, it will coordinate research and training activities related to neuroinflammation, neurodegeneration/-regeneration and imaging with special emphasis on translating basic mechanisms into clinical applications that will provide health benefits for our aging population. With its intellectual excellence and its crucial mass the INMiND consortium will play a major role in the European Research Area and will gain European leadership in the creation of new image-guided therapy paradigms in patients with neurodegenerative diseases.

The partners wish to build a long term European, Industry-Academia consortium, to work on the problem of delivering therapeutic agents, e.g. for brain cancer, across the blood-brain barrier (BBB) at the efficacious dose. Current treatment options for brain cancer are limited with patients having a poor prognosis. One of the major hurdles is the BBB which prevents effective doses of drugs reaching the site of disease. There is thus a major need for technologies that can successfully overcome such a hurdle without having a negative effect on safety and tolerability. Pharmidex have developed a drug delivery system that transiently and reversibly opens the BBB to entry of compounds into the brain without inducing tissue injury. It is based on patented lipid-like structures and has been shown to deliver both small molecules and large proteins effectively into the brain. The lead delivery compound for brain cancer appears to be safe and well tolerated on the basis of pre-clinical testing. We initially seek to determine the mechanism of action of the technology for penetrating the BBB; application to different therapeutic agents as well as development of reliable brain cancer animal models to quantify efficacy of nanoparticle-based therapy using imaging technology. We believe this novel delivery technology will be a unique drug discovery tool with the potential to enhance efficacy of established agents, reduce systemic exposure of the chemotherapeutic agent, thus minimising both the on/off-target toxicity through enhancement of drug absorption at the target site. Besides its scientific objectives, OncoNanoBBB will provide a framework for cooperation and knowledge sharing between a pharmaceutical industry and two academic institutions with complementary expertise in project objectives, as well as dissemination of project outcomes.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH.2013.2.3.0-1 | Award Amount: 7.67M | Year: 2013

Approximately 600-700 million people are infected by hookworm, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America. Hookworm infection ranks number one in terms of Years Lost from Disability from a neglected infectious disease, and among the top 3 in terms of lost Disability-Adjusted Life Years. HOOKVAC will be developing the first and only vaccine for human hookworm infection. A bivalent, low-cost vaccine candidate will be clinically tested for the first time in an African disease endemic population. This will be done in Gabon in a very typical setting within the Central African rainforest belt, where the incidence of hookworm infections is 30%. Inspired by preparatory research, HOOKVAC believes that it can develop the vaccine with at least 80% efficacy against moderate and heavy hookworm infections that lasts at five years after immunization. Cost effectiveness modelling has shown that such a vaccine will significantly improve the efficacy of the current mass drug administration programs. HOOKVAC will play a crucial role in advancing toward large scale efficacy studies in African endemic areas. Via a program of 48 months with 6 work packages, HOOKVAC will address 4 main objectives: (1) establish safety and immunogenicity of the vaccine candidate in an endemic population (2) improve the manufacturing process (3) provide clinical proof of concept (4) improve accessibility of the vaccine in endemic areas. The involvement of European SMEs in the project is a critical component to advancing a successful vaccine, and an integral part of adding private sector know-how and scientific expertise to the project. This will inspire other European SMEs to become more involved in public/private vaccine product development for neglected infectious diseases. By doing so, HOOKVAC will fuel a follow-up programme for further development of the vaccine towards into a licensed product.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: NMP.2011.2.2-2 | Award Amount: 5.46M | Year: 2012

Age-related cancers, especially of the trachea, are neoplastic lesions that significantly impact upon the lives of thousands of European patients each year. Unfortunately, most present with inoperable lesions for which median survival is less than 12 months. Based on our previous clinically successful experiences with in vivo completely tissue engineered tracheal replacement in benign tracheal diseases, we recently applied this technology in 2 patients with otherwise inoperable primary tracheal cancers. The successful observed outcome confirms the unique opportunity to scale-up an effective therapeutic approach into a widely accessible clinical technology, which could enhance not only the quality of life but even cure otherwise untreatable patients. However, a limitation of our current technology is the time it takes to re-populate the decellularized trachea. This may prove critical in the case of cancer patients. Further, the size of the transplant is currently limited due to the fact that the transplanted tissue needs to be efficiently and rapidly vascularised to prevent necrosis in vivo. To surmount these limitations, we aim to: i) improve our current technique of in vivo tissue engineering human tracheae in a small number of patients and subsequently begin a formal clinical trial, ii) develop pharmacological approaches to activate endogenous stem cells, stimulate tissue regeneration and vascularisation in situ, iii) develop a synthetic tracheal scaffold using a novel nanocomposite polymer as alternatives to natural human scaffolds and iv) develop good medical practice manufacturing process for safe, efficient and cost effective commercial production. This research project is aimed to define a robust airway implantation technique assuring a better outcome for thousands of patients each year. Moreover, we aim to use these results as a starting point to develop clinical approaches that could improve the treatment of age-related cancers of other hollow organs.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-IAPP | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-IAPP-2008 | Award Amount: 633.65K | Year: 2009

The partners wish to build a long-term European, industry-academia consortium, to work on the problem of repairing tissue damage in the neuromuscular system (NS). We initially seek to determine the biocompatibility of carbon nanoparticles with tissues of the NS as an essential prelude to our medium to long-term goal of developing marketable novel carbon nanotube-based implants for tissue repair of the NS. Presently, there is no satisfactory method for repairing extensive damage of the different tissues of the NS namely, nerves, muscles, ligaments and tendons. In the case of nerve lesions, the major problem associated with most of the recently developed implants is their limited capacity for organising regenerating axons appropriately for functional tissue re-innervation. We believe that CNTs due to their unique combination of physico-chemical properties could play a major role in overcoming these problems and therefore enhance tissue integration and nerve repair. In the case of damaged skeletal muscles and tendons, we envisage that CNTs could play a key role in strengthening and repair of these types of NS tissues.

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