Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: SC5-04-2015 | Award Amount: 6.82M | Year: 2016
ICARUS will develop innovative tools for urban impact assessment in support of air quality and climate change governance in the EU. This will lead to designing and implementing win-win strategies to improve the air quality and reduce the carbon footprint in European cities. An integrated approach will be used for air pollution monitoring and assessment combining ground-based measurements, atmospheric transport and chemical transformation modelling and air pollution indicators derived from satellite, airborne and personal remote sensing. The ICARUS methodology and toolkit will be applied in nine EU cities of variable size, socio-economic condition and history. Technological and non-technological measures and policy options will be analyzed and proposed to the responsible authorities for air pollution and/or climate change at the city level. Based on the advanced monitoring and assessment tools outlined above, a cloud-based solution will be developed to inform citizens of environment-conscious alternatives that may have a positive impact on air quality and carbon footprint and finally on their health and motivate them to adopt alternative behaviours. Agent-based modelling will be used to capture the interactions of population subgroups, industries and service providers in response to the policies considered in the project. Thus, social and cultural factors, socio-economic status (SES) and societal dynamics will be explicitly taken into account to assess overall policy impact. Our findings will be translated into a web-based guidebook for sustainable air pollution and climate change governance in all EU cities. ICARUS will develop a vision of a future green city: a visionary model that will seek to minimize environmental and health impacts. Transition pathways will be drawn that will demonstrate how current cities could be transformed towards cities with close to zero or negative carbon footprint and maximal wellbeing within the next 50 years.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: SC1-PM-21-2016 | Award Amount: 7.69M | Year: 2017
The new challenge in global health is to achieve Universal Health Care (UHC) by 2030. Having an adequate workforce is critical to achieving UHC. Efforts are in place to scale up the numbers of health workers. Improving health workforce performance is equally important as the quantity of health workers, but more challenging. Workforce performance improvement can be achieved better at management levels close to front-line workers. The PERFORM project developed a problem-based management strengthening intervention for management teams at district level in three African countries to improve both health workforce performance and service delivery more generally. The evaluation of the management strengthening intervention (MSI) demonstrated its effectiveness in enabling the management teams to solve workforce performance and other problems locally which improved service delivery, and become better managers. To have a wider impact and thus contribute to the achievement of UHC the PERFORM management strengthening intervention needs to be scaled up and embedded. The aim of PERFORM2scale is to develop and evaluate a sustainable approach to scaling up a district level management strengthening intervention in different and changing contexts. A framework and strategy for scaling up the intervention will be developed with government agencies in Ghana, Malawi and Uganda each country. Capacity will be developed to implement the scale-up which will be carried out over three years in order to use the MSI at scale and embed the process at district level. The scale-up framework and strategy will be subjected to process evaluation (to identify opportunities and barriers) and outcome evaluation. Both the framework and strategy will be validated for use in the study countries and elsewhere for use and adaptation. The use of the management strengthening intervention at scale in countries will be a major contribution to achieving UHC.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: COFUND-EJP | Phase: SC1-PM-05-2016 | Award Amount: 74.06M | Year: 2017
The overarching goal of the European Human Biomonitoring Initiative (HBM4EU) is to generate knowledge to inform the safe management of chemicals and so protect human health. We will use human biomonitoring to understand human exposure to chemicals and resulting health impacts and will communicate with policy makers to ensure that our results are exploited in the design of new chemicals policies and the evaluation of existing measures. Key objectives include: Harmonizing procedures for human biomonitoring across 26 countries, to provide policy makers with comparable data on human internal exposure to chemicals and mixtures of chemicals at EU level; Linking data on internal exposure to chemicals to aggregate external exposure and identifying exposure pathways and upstream sources. Information on exposure pathways is critical to the design of targeted policy measures to reduce exposure; Generating scientific evidence on the causal links between human exposure to chemicals and negative health outcomes; and Adapting chemical risk assessment methodologies to use human biomonitoring data and account for the contribution of multiple external exposure pathways to the total chemical body burden. We will achieve these objectives by harmonizing human biomonitoring initiatives in 26 countries, drawing on existing expertise and building new capacities. By establishing National Hubs in each country to coordinate activities, we will create a robust Human Biomonitoring Platform at European level. This initiative contributes directly to the improvement of health and well-being for all age groups, by investigating how exposure to chemicals affects the health of different groups, such as children, pregnant women, foetuses and workers. We will also investigate how factor such as behavior, lifestyle and socio-economic status influence internal exposure to chemicals across the EU population. This knowledge will support policy action to reduce chemical exposure and protect health.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ENV.2013.6.4-2 | Award Amount: 7.88M | Year: 2014
The EU population is increasingly exposed to new physical and chemical agents in the environment, some of which may be detrimental to public health. Of these, electromagnetic fields (EMF) are one of the most ubiquitous, with new EMF technologies and novel applications being actively developed and commercialised. To address pertinent questions on EMF and health, GERoNiMO proposes an integrated approach building upon existing European resources (epidemiological studies, exposure assessment techniques, mechanistic and animal models, expert networks), using, where appropriate, novel methods, to better understand potential mechanisms underlying possible health effects of EMF, to characterise population levels of exposure, and to further the state of knowledge on EMF and health. GERoNiMO will focus on radiofrequency fields (RF) as understanding of possible health effects is insufficient and a large proportion of the general population is exposed, with commercial applications continuing to grow and intermediate frequencies (IF) as applications are increasing and information on potential health effects is sparse. GERoNiMO will address all aspects of the call by meeting the following four main objectives: i) evaluate possible health effects (cognitive and behavioural development, cancer risk, and reproductive effects) of exposure to RF and IF in children and adults; ii) better understand mechanisms of biological effects (behavioural and reproductive effects, cancer, ageing, and Alzheimers disease) related to RF and IF; iii) collect better data on population exposure and improve health risk assessment for RF and IF; and iv) underpin policy development in Europe on RF and IF (including non-technological means of reducing exposure and best practices in risk communication to support EU policy makers). GERoNiMO represents a unique and timely opportunity for the development of a truly integrated approach to research into EMF and health in Europe.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: ICT-39-2015 | Award Amount: 3.17M | Year: 2016
Malaria is a life-threatening disease causing more than 500,000 deaths every year in sub-Saharan Africa. Prevention of the disease is best achieved by vector control which relies on the use of insecticides. Monitoring mosquito vector populations is an integral component of control programmes and a prerequisite for effective interventions. Several individual methods are used for this task, However, there are obstacles to their uptake, as well as challenges in organizing, interpreting and communicating vector control data. We will develop a fully integrated and automated multiplex vector-diagnostic platform (LabDisk) for monitoring the species ID, the infection status of mosquitoes and the insecticide resistance profile of malaria vector populations. The system will provide sample-to-answer determinations, and it will perform genotyping at substantially lower cost, compared to the assays that are currently used in Africa. The LabDisk will be interfaced with a Disease Data Management System (DDMS), custom made data management software which will collect data from routine entomological monitoring activities, store, and make available stratified information based on user queries in a standardized way. The GAME, a modern ICT platform that employs interactive ways of communicating guidelines and exemplifying good practices of successful use of interventions in the health sector will be also employed, to teach operational end users the use of data to make informed decisions. The integrated system (LabDisk, DDMS & Game) will be implemented in four sub-Saharan African countries, highly representative of malaria settings and vector control problems, to support informed decision-making about vector control and disease management. It will cover the urgent needs of an existing market and will provide solution to end users, to address a most important societal challenge in Africa, the control of malaria. The system has a vast expansion potential in other applications.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: SC1-PM-22-2016 | Award Amount: 12.56M | Year: 2016
The ZikaPLAN initiative combines the strengths of 25 partners in Latin America, North America, Africa, Asia, and various centres in Europe to address the urgent research gaps (WP 1-8) in Zika, identifying short-and long term solutions (WP 9-10) and building a sustainable Latin-American EID Preparedness and Response capacity (WP 11-12). We will conduct clinical studies to further refine the full spectrum and risk factors of congenital Zika syndrome (including neurodevelopmental milestones in the first 3 years of life), and delineate neurological complications associated with Zika due to direct neuroinvasion and immune-mediated responses. Laboratory based research to unravel neurotropism, investigate the role of sexual transmission, determinants of severe disease, and viral fitness will envelop the clinical studies. Burden of disease and modelling studies will assemble a wealth of data including a longitudinal cohort study of 17,000 subjects aged 2-59 in 14 different geographic locations in Brazil over 3 years. Data driven vector control and vaccine modelling as well as risk assessments on geographic spread of Zika will form the foundation for evidence-informed policies. The Platform for Diagnostics Innovation and Evaluation will develop novel ZIKV diagnostic tests in accordance with WHO Target Product Profiles. Our global network of laboratory and clinical sites with well-characterized specimens is set out to accelerate the evaluation of the performance of such tests. Based on qualitative research, we will develop supportive, actionable messages to affected communities, and develop novel personal protective measures. Our final objective is for the Zika outbreak response effort to grow into a sustainable Latin-American network for emerging infectious diseases research preparedness. To this end we will engage in capacity building in laboratory and clinical research, collaborate with existing networks to share knowledge and tackle regulatory and other bottlenecks.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH.2013.2.3.4-2 | Award Amount: 7.92M | Year: 2013
The trypanosomatid diseases, leishmaniasis, Human African trypanosomiasis (HAT) and Chagas disease (CD), continue to impart a heavy toll on human health. The treatments available are limited and threatened by drug resistance with few newdrugs in the pipeline. The KINDReD consortium integrates five leading academic laboratories in Europe (Portugal, United Kingdom, and Switzerland), the USA (California) and South America (Brazil) with high throughput screening (HTS) facilities equally distributed between all three major kinetoplastid parasites. Intracellular amastigote screening will be employed as the most relevant for Leishmania spp and T cruzi. Compound libraries (focused, diversity oriented or natural) will be screened in these systems, as well as compound series devised through target screening and in silico approaches. For carefully chosen protein targets, all three kinetoplastid parasite homologs will be screened against the closest human homolog to establish selectivity. Promising lead compounds will be optimised for efficacy and tolerability in cell-based and animal disease models. Toxicological markers will be evaluated in human cell lines prior to toxicity (acute,subacute,chronic) testing in lower then higher mammals. In parallel, and in line with the FDAs Critical Path Initiative, several check point controls will be built into the pipeline to flag, identify and allow early correction of potential toxicity/efficacy issues. These will include (i) a systems biology approach to identify drug target and off-target interactions via activity-based chemoproteomics (ii) uptake and metabolismas potential modulators of drug efficacy and/or resistance and (iii) the establishment of a firm set of rules for drug efficacy and safety in kinetoplastid chemotherapy. Our goal is to strengthen the drug development pipeline in order to achieve at least one new Phase I clinical candidate for each trypanosomatid disease at or shortly after the project completion date.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH.2013.2.3.0-1 | Award Amount: 7.44M | Year: 2013
The World Health Organisation in its report on Neglected Tropical Diseases has stated that there is overwhelming evidence to show that the burden caused by many of the 17 diseases that affect more than 1billion people worldwide can be effectively controlled and, in many cases, eliminated or even eradicated. Leishmaniasis caused by Leishmania spp is one of them and poses a grave health risk to an estimated 350 million people across the world. Among the three clinical patterns of Leishmaniasis (cutaneous, mucocutaneous, and visceral), Visceral Leishmaniasis (VL), also known as kala azar is the most severe in terms of symptoms and clinical complications. If left untreated, the disease can have a fatality rate as high as 100%.Only few drugs are available in the foreseeable future for treating patients from this disease. The development of a human vaccine against Leishmania is an achievable goal.In endemic areas, the majority of infected persons do not develop clinical symptoms and past infection leads to robust immunity against reinfection. In our approach, we mimic a natural infection cycle of Leishmania, by introducing the recombinant protein LJM11 from the sand fly saliva and two other components of Leishmania infantum based on well proven effective recombinant proteins from Leishmania: KMP11 and a recombinant fusion protein SMT-NH. These components will be formulated with a strong TLR4 agonist, already tested in humans, to enhance and modulate the immune response. This innovative vaccine will be tested at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, which already has experience in conducting clinical trials with Leishmania vaccines. The phase I/II clinical trial will be immunologically monitored by experienced institutions from EU and US. A European SME would have most of the benefits of this project: it would allow to further develop a vaccine against this neglected disease and increase the possibility to out-license this vaccine for commercialization.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: ERC-CG | Phase: ERC-CG-2013-LS7 | Award Amount: 1.93M | Year: 2014
I propose an ambitious, yet feasible 5-year research project that will fill an important gap in global health. Specifically, I will develop and validate novel approaches for anthelmintic drug discovery and development. My proposal pursues the following five research questions: (i) Is a chip calorimeter suitable for high-throughput screening in anthelmintic drug discovery? (ii) Is combination chemotherapy safe and more efficacious than monotherapy against strongyloidiasis and trichuriasis? (iii) What are the key pharmacokinetic parameters of praziquantel in preschool-aged children and school-aged children infected with Schistosoma mansoni and S. haematobium using a novel and validated technology based on dried blood spotting? (iv) What are the metabolic consequences and clearance of praziquantel treatment in S. mansoni-infected mice and S. mansoni- and S. haematobium-infected children? (v) Which is the ideal compartment to study pharmacokinetic parameters for intestinal nematode infections and does age, nutrition, co-infection and infection intensity influence the efficacy of anthelmintic drugs? My proposed research is of considerable public health relevance since it will ultimately result in improved treatments for soil-transmitted helminthiasis and pediatric schistosomiasis. Additionally, at the end of this project, I have generated comprehensive information on drug disposition of anthelmintics. A comprehensive database of metabolite profiles following praziquantel treatment will be available. Finally, the proof-of-concept of chip calorimetry in anthelmintic drug discovery has been established and broadly validated.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: PHC-01-2014 | Award Amount: 7.27M | Year: 2015
This programme of work will advance the understanding of the combined effects of factors that cause poor lung function, respiratory disability and the development of COPD . This will be achieved by examination of determinants of lung growth and lung function decline within existing cohorts that cover the whole life course, and which have followed, in detail, the respiratory health status of over 25000 European children and adults from the early 1990s to the present day. Following a comprehensive programme of risk factor identification we will generate a predictive risk score. The programme includes 1) identification of behavioural, environmental, occupational, nutritional, other modifiable lifestyle, genetic determinant of poor lung growth, excess lung function decline and occurrence of low lung function, respiratory disability and COPD within existing child and adult cohorts 2) generation of new data to fill gaps in knowledge on pre-conception and transgenerational determinants and risk factors 3) validation of the role of risk factors by integration of data from relevant disciplines, integration of data from the cohort-related population-based biobanks and exploitation of appropriate statistical techniques 4) generation of information on change in DNA methylation patterns to identify epigenetic changes associated with both disease development and exposure to specific risk factors 5) generation of a predictive risk score for individual risk stratification that takes account of the combined effects of factors that cause poor lung growth, lung function decline, respiratory disability, and COPD and 6) implementation of an online interactive tool for personalised risk prediction based which will be disseminated freely and widely to the population, patients and health care providers. The work will provide an evidence base for risk identification at individual and population level that can underpin future preventive and therapeutic strategies and policies.