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"Medical Research and Nanotechnologies Allied to Combat Alzheimer’s Disease"
FP7 - NMP - Collaborative Project
Grant Agreement nº 212043

The NAD (Nanoparticles for therapy and diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease) Project is aiming to develop nanoparticles for Alzheimer's diagnosis and therapy. The research is financed by the European Union's 7th Framework Program and includes 19 European research centers.
Grant agreement no: CP-IP 212043-2 NAD. Prof. Masserini of University of Milano-Bicocca is the scientific coordinator of the project.

Recent statistics indicate that 24.3 million people worldwide are affected by dementia with 4.6 million new cases per year (one new case every 7 seconds). In Europe there are 5 million cases of dementia, 3 million of which are classified as Alzheimer's. Given the continuing increase in life expectancy, these numbers are expected to rise dramatically. In 2040 cases are expected to double in Western Europe and to triple in Eastern Europe. Despite great progress in the scientific field, which has made interpretation of the molecular bases of the disease possible, there has been little progress in diagnosis and therapy.

The goal of the study, developed in the field of nanotechnologies, is to create nanoparticles (NPs) able to cross the blood-brain barrier to reach the brain, principal site of Alzheimer's disease. Molecules that can recognize (diagnosis) and destroy (therapy) the amyloid deposits, characteristic of the illness, will be attached to the nanoparticles, and tested on animal models of the disease (transgenic mice). If the expectations of the research are attained, future experiments can be performed on humans. The results can have an enormous impact on the early diagnosis and therapy of a disease of high incidence, which takes a heavy social cost.

Hilysens I

"Highy sensitive and specific low-cost lab-on-chip system for lyme disease diagnosis"
FP7 - Research for the benefict of SMEs
Grant Agreement nº: 262411

The aim of HILYSENS is to develop a novel lab-on-chip diagnostic tool to improve clinical diagnostic, disease monitoring and treatment of Lyme disease by enabling specific and sensitive detection of the human serological response against its causative agent: Borrelia burgdoferi. Lyme Disease is the most common tick-borne infection in Europe with around 85,000 new cases per year and its incidence is increasing due to climate change. Current laboratory diagnostic methods lack sensitivity and specificity to detect early cases as well as late manifestations of the disease such as chronic or autoimmune-related infections. For this reasons, disease incidence is underestimated as many cases go mis- or undiagnosed. Late, delayed, or inadequate treatment can lead to serious symptoms such as neuroborreliosis or arthritis, which can be disabling and difficult to treat.

HILYSENS will develop a specific multi-antigen assay in a lab-on-a-chip device to detect Borrelia infections.

Hilysens II

" Demonstration Activities for the clinical validation of the prototype HILYSENS Lab-on-a-Chip "
FP7 - Collaborative project
Grand Agreement nº: 606348

The HILYSENS II is based on the 2-year HILYSENS research and development project (started November 2010)funded by the ‘Research for the Benefit of SMEs’ program of the European Commission's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). HILYSENS II proposes Demonstration Activities for the prototype HILYSENS Lab-on-a-Chip developed during the successful research and development project, which was designed as a specific and sensitive diagnostic system for acute, chronic and autoimmunity-associated Lyme disease. The developed prototype comprises a Bio-Chip, which enables specific and sensitive detection of the human serological responses to Borrelia species in patients with Lyme disease, and a portable Reader with user-friendly software,which together enable precise, accurate and reproducible testing of serum samples. Lyme disease is the mostcommon tick-borne infection in Europe, with around 85,000 new cases per year. Current laboratory diagnosticmethods for Borrelia species lack the necessary sensitivity and specificity to detect early cases, as well as late manifestations of the disease, such as chronic or autoimmune-related infections. As a consequence, many cases are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. Late, delayed, or inadequate treatment can lead to serious problems, such as neuroborreliosis or arthritis, which can be disabling and difficult to treat. 

The HILYSENS II Demonstration Activity, which will involve SMEs from Portugal, Italy, and Spain, will include verification of the Bio-Chip and Reader components, followed by scaling-up of the production of the complete system. This will be followed by clinical validation at partner Borrelia testing centers in Germany and Sweden, and confirmatory testing in Portugal. By the end of the 24-month Demonstration Activity it is expected that the HILYSENS diagnostic system will be submitted for approval by regulatory authorities in Europe and the US and will enter these markets shortly thereafter.


"Point-of-care blood device for fast and reliable prediction of drug response in non- small-cell lung carcinoma patients from blood samples"
FP7 - Research for the Benefict of SMEs
Grant Agreement nº: 315586

The standard of care in the treatment of NSCLC patients is to use a platinum-based chemotherapeutic agent, especially in advanced disease (stages III and especially IV). Chemotherapy regimens usually include two drugs: often this combination regimen includes a platinum drug like cisplatin along with either an older (etoposide) or newer (docetaxel, gemcitabine, pemetrexed (Alimta) or vinorelbine) chemotherapeutic drug. Beyond of unpleasant side effects of chemotherapy, most of nonsmall cell lung cancer tumours are not sensitive to this treatment. Targeted therapy could be used to improve treatment effectiveness in those patients, since relevant biomarkers were already identified allowing the stratification of those patients. Recent randomised phase III studies (IPASS, INTEREST, V-15- 32, ISEL) and external literature have demonstrated that patients with tumours harbouring EGFR mutations show a better response to EGFR-TKI (epidermal growth factor receptor-tyrosine kinase inhibitors) than platinum-based chemotherapeutic agents. In cancer cells, somatic mutations in exons 18-21 in tyrosine kinase domain of EGFR gene should be analysed to support the treatment decision for a patient with NSCLC. The personalised medicine is now a reality for NSCLC patients and the improvement of overall survival is clearly evident.


"Extracellular brain proteolysis in neuronal plasticity and neuropsychiatric disorders"
FP7 - People - Initial Training Network
Grant Agreement nº: 606950

The extracellular matrix (ECM) has recently emerged as a fourth "synaptic" element, in addition to presynapse, postsynapse, and glia, which rapidly exchanges molecular signals with the other three. The ECM/CAMs also span the synaptic cleft, providing a transsynaptic adhesive apparatus, and the molecular steric hindrance imposed by the ECM/CAMs appears to regulate the synaptic dynamics. Furthermore, recent studies have shown that proteolytic activity may release from the ECM/CAMs cryptic ligand(s) that activate cell surface receptors and initiate intracellular signalling cascade(s). Thus, ECM and its enzymatic modifications have emerged as a highly topical research area, also because their extracellular localization makes the development of enzymatic inhibitors more feasible, with better access for novel drugs. In brief, it can be expected that a better understanding of the newly emerging field of ECM and its proteolysis in major brain diseases may change the way they are diagnosed and treated.

The ITN EXTRABRAIN brings together a group of well-established academic and industrial partners sharing interest in the ECM and its proteolysis.


“Promoting Active Ageing: Functional Nanostructures for Alzheimer’s disease at ultra-early stages
European Union’s Horizon 2020 - Research and Innovation Programme
Grant Agreement nº: 686009

“STAB VIDA is happy to be part of the H2020’s PANA project – “Promoting Active Ageing: Functional Nanostructures for Alzheimer’s disease at ultra-early stages” - a project conducted by a consortium of 11 partners from different countries across Europe and coordinated by “Servizo Galego de Saude (SERGAS)”. 


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