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Grant
Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: ERC-POC | Phase: ERC-PoC-2015 | Award Amount: 149.06K | Year: 2016

For certain neurological disorders it is necessary to record electrical signals directly from the brain. Intracranial neuromonitoring is indicated for several neuropathologies, such as for localization of the source of seizures in epilepsy patients for surgical removal, or closely watching neurological status in intensive care (eg stroke, brainswelling), typically lasting days to weeks. For this, special electrodes embedded in silicon sheets (grids) are surgically placed between the brain and the skull, which measure neural electrical discharges. Another, emerging need for grids is by severely paralyzed people, to enable direct communication between the brain and computers for writing or for controlling appliances (Brain-Computer Interface). A major problem with grids is that their wires, connecting to external amplifiers, have to pass through the skull, posing an infection risk, and risk of wire breakage with chronic use. A wireless solution would solve many problems. In NeMoFoil the feasibility of wireless grids for human use will be determined. The concept entails embedding of microelectronics for signal amplification, AD conversion and wireless transfer, together with the electrodes in a thin sheet, a foil. Using modern printing technology, it is possible to print electrodes and their connections with microcircuits. Using several strategically placed coils, power is supplied by induction while signals are transmitted. I have brought together a team of experts in the relevant domains, including engineers and business planners. This project will lead to a blueprint for a commercial product that requires further investment in the production and CE certification process (pre-demonstration stage). In addition a business plan is developed alongside, and ample attention is paid to patentability of the concept. With this approach I expect to have a complete package with which we can attract investors or partners to move the concept towards commercial viability.


Grant
Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: PHC-16-2015 | Award Amount: 5.97M | Year: 2016

Cardiovascular diseases including myocardial infarction (MI), which entails the irreversible loss of heart muscle tissue, constitute a major socio-economic burden in global healthcare. With whole organ transplantation as the only treatment option for end-stage heart failure, MI patients could particularly benefit from advanced cell therapies aimed at the functional reconstitution of damaged hearts. Human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) can be derived by reprogramming patients somatic cells. In contrast to adult (stem) cells e.g. from blood, bone marrow or the heart, hiPSCs have unlimited expandability and differentiation potential into all relevant cell types including cardiomyocytes, endothelial cells, pericytes and connective tissue-forming cells, making them highly attractive as a universal cell source for organ repair. However, technologies for the robust therapeutic scale production of hiPSC-derived progenies in line with GMP standards and at reasonable cost are currently lacking. TECHNOBEATs ultimate objectives are 1) to advance therapeutic scale cell production through innovative bioreactor technologies and novel cell monitoring tools, and 2) to develop regulatory compliant bioprocessing of innovative iPSC-based cardiac -tissue. The clinical translation of cardiac -tissue will require 3) the development and application of tools for improved cell delivery and longitudinal in vivo monitoring of cell grafts, and 4) proof-of-concept for safety and functional integration in physiologically relevant preclinical models of cellular heart repair. Through its interdisciplinary excellence, TECHNOBEATs consortium of leading European stem cell researchers, clinicians, tissue-, bioprocess-, and technical- engineers in industry and academia is ideally positioned to address these ambitious objectives. It will provide new treatment options for suffering patients and increase Europes attractiveness as a hub for innovative medical technologies.


Grant
Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: ERC-POC | Phase: ERC-PoC-2015 | Award Amount: 149.19K | Year: 2016

Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a life-threatening autoimmune connective tissue disorder of unknown cause, characterised by fibrosis of the skin and internal organs. SSc affects approximately 160.000 patients worldwide and is associated with life-long burden of disease. Early detection of SSc is currently impossible as diagnosis is typically based on a combination of late-stage clinical symptoms. Current diagnostics, however, are based on late clinical manifestations. There is a need for actionable biomarkers for early-stage diagnosis and disease monitoring. Based on proprietary ERC research specific microRNA (miRNA) profiles were found that positively correlates with clinical progression and complications of SSc. Its expression was elevated in subjects who demonstrated symptoms that can precede SSc onset by years. These findings provide strong support for the prognostic and diagnostic properties of the miRNA panel in SSc. MIRASYS has been designed to accelerate the commercialisation of a panel of highly potent miRNAs that have breakthrough diagnostic potential in SSc. MIRASYS will be used to validate these findings by setting miRNA expression level boundaries for SSc development and to incorporate these in a diagnostic assay. MIRASYS will also assess the commercial feasibility of setting-up a dedicated spin-off company to commercialise the technology. The team has analysed the IP landscape for similar approaches for SSc and no prior art on the specific miRNAs was found. In the MIRASYS ERC PoC Grant, the team will further investigate the IP position and formulate a strong IP strategy including the steps towards full Freedom to Operate. The MIRASYS team consists of experienced science and business professionals. The team has developed several business models which need to be assessed thoroughly through in-depth market research. The results need to be consolidated into a strong business plan that will be presented to investors and strategic investors.


Grant
Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-IF-GF | Phase: MSCA-IF-2015-GF | Award Amount: 260.93K | Year: 2016

Heart disease is the most significant cause of morbidity and mortality in the industrialized world, and the cause of 4 million death each year within the European Union. The prevalence of the disease is a huge burden on society estimated to cost the EU economy 60 billion annually on drug therapy, patient care, and loss in productivity. Nonetheless, despite the latest advances in research much remains to be learn about pharmacological treatments in cardiovascular disease. Recently, the development of induced-pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) technology has led to the creation of patient-in-a-dish models through the utilization of iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes. In this setting, a high-throughput screening approach can applied to find novel therapeutic interventions and detect the cardiotoxicity of drugs. However, the limitation of the current format centers on the lack of phenotypic cardiomcyoytes maturity. Consequently, these in vitro models often fail to recapitulate relevant physiological traits. The aim of CAMEOS is to develop a cardiac microtissue with superior physiological relevance for in vitro high-throughput screening. I will employ state-of-the-art cardiac tissue engineering principles to improve the maturation of iPSC-cardiomyocyte. These will be scaled-down, by the development of microtissue, for utilization in high-throughput 96-well plate format, and will be validated by their pharmacological responses and iPS-disease modeling potential. I will apply the developed microtissue to model a complex disease mutation, phospholamban (PLN) R14del, for which the pathology is poorly understood and no cure is available. In the microtissue, I will be able to study the physiological implication of the mutation and perform a high-content screens in attempt to find novel therapeutic targets.


Grant
Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: PHC-18-2015 | Award Amount: 6.31M | Year: 2016

Neonatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is a major cause of death or long-term disability in infants born at term in the western world, affecting about 1-4 per 1.000 life births and consequently about 5-20.000 infants per year in Europe. Hypothermic treatment became the only established therapy to improve outcome after perinatal hypoxic-ischemic insults. Despite hypothermia and neonatal intensive care, 45-50% of affected children die or suffer from long-term neurodevelopmental impairment. Additional neuroprotective interventions, beside hypothermia, are warranted to further improve their outcome. Allopurinol is a xanthine oxidase inhibitor and reduces the production of oxygen radicals and brain damage in experimental, animal, and early human studies of ischemia and reperfusion. This project aims to evaluate the efficacy and safety of allopurinol administered immediately after birth to near-term infants with HIE in addition to hypothermic treatment. Beyond this primary objective, the project will provide information on the effect of hypothermia on pharmacokinetics of drugs with a similar metabolism as allopurinol in neonates. Furthermore it will give the opportunity to further develop and validate biomarkers for neonatal brain injury using advanced magnetic resonance imaging, biochemistry, and electroencephalogramms, which will then be available for future studies testing neuroprotective interventions. Finally, this trial will extend our knowledge about incidence of and risk factors for perinatal asphyxia and HIE possibly enabling generation of more preventive strategies for the future.

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