Kick-off meeting of the Horizon 2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie European Training Network (ETN) „CaSR-Biomedicine“ coordinated by Enikö Kallay from IPA
Isabella Ellinger, Enikö Kallay, Sabina Baumgartner-Parzer
Wednesday, 13.04.2016, 13:30 – 16:00, TissueGnostics GmbH, Taborstraße 10, 1020 Vienna
On the 13th of April a Kick-off meeting will start the “CaSR-Biomedicine”, a Marie Sklodowska-Curie European Training Network (ETN), coordinated by Assoc. Prof. Mag. Dr. Enikö Kallay. This is a project, funded with 3.6 million Euros, under the Horizon 2020 call. Univ.-Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Hannes Stockinger, the head of the Center for Pathophysiology, Infectiology, and Immunology, will welcome the participants. Members of the European Office, Mag. Susanne Friedl and Dipl.-Ing. Iris Weinbub will represent the Vice Rector for Research and Innovation, Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Michaela Fritz. This meeting is hosted by TissueGnostics, one of the Beneficiaries of this project.
In addition to the overall coordination of this international collaborative research and training programme, Enikö Kallay will also supervise its research activities taking place at the Medical University of Vienna. Sabina Baumgartner-Parzer of the Clinical Division of Endocrinology & Metabolism (Department of Internal Medicine III), and Isabella Ellinger (Institute of Pathophysiology and Allergy Research) will be assisting her in the implementation of the project. The project manager is Maria Elena Manfredini. This four-year "CaSR-Biomedicine" project is the second European Training Network that Enikö Kallay has brought to the Medical University of Vienna in the last five years.
New applications for tried and tested medicines
The focus of the "CaSR-Biomedicine, Therapeutics for Non-Communicable Diseases" project is the extracellular calcium-sensing receptor (CaSR). The calcium-sensing receptor (CaSR) is not only the main regulator of calcium metabolism, but also involved in other physiological processes, to maintain normal body functions.
Research findings indicate that abnormal CaSR function and/or its abundance, play a significant role in the development, or progression of several non-communicable diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, and degenerative muscle loss. These diseases account for 25% of all illnesses in the world, and in 2012 were the cause of 68% of all disease-related deaths.
G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), such as the CaSR, are molecular targets for more than 35% of all modern pharmaceutical compounds. The “CaSR-Biomedicine” Marie Sklodowska-Curie European Training Network will therefore not only investigate fundamental questions about cell type- and ligand-specific signalling pathways of the CaSR, but will primarily test novel effects and applications of CaSR-directed drugs in 14 multi-disciplinary sub-projects executed in 8 countries. These subprojects will focus on ageing-associated diseases (such as Alzheimer's disease, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, muscle weakness), and on various forms of cancer such as neuroblastoma, colon, or breast cancer. These CaSR-modulating drugs already exist, even though their use is currently restricted to a few diseases. They have been tested and already approved for human use. If these drugs could be used to treat other diseases also, it would save a lot of time and money that are needed for the development and approval of new drugs.
International PhD programme
Apart from gaining scientific insights, the main priority of Marie Sklodowska-Curie Training Networks is to train young scientists within the context of an international doctoral programme. Besides the experimental methods and techniques involved in scientific laboratory work, and the courses offered by the partner universities, the training programme of CaSR-Biomedicine covers aspects of medical ethics, modern presentation techniques and communication strategies, as well as quality and risk management also. In order to ensure that the young researchers besides the academic and research-oriented careers are prepared also for careers in the private sector.
The “CaSR-Biomedicine” training programme also offers workshops about start-ups, and entrepreneurship. Founders of start-up companies, and top managers of leading companies from around the world will train the PhD students in this programme. This means that the young scientists will benefit from excellent training that will open multiple career opportunities – both in academia and in the private sector.
Cooperating partners of the Medical University Vienna in this ETN are (in alphabetic order): Maria Luisa Brandi (University of Florenz; I), Hans Bräuner-Osborne (University of Copenhagen; DK), Frank Bruggeman (Stichting VU-VUMC; NL), András Dinnyés (Biotalentum Ltd; H), Rupert Ecker (TissueGnostics; A), Fadil M. Hannan (University of Liverpool; UK), Romuald Metaverri (Université de Picardie Jules Verne; F), Luisa Pugliese (S.A.F.A.N. Bioinformatics; I) Daniela Riccardi (Cardiff University; UK), Rajesh V. Thakker (The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Oxford; UK), Carmen de Torres Gomez-Pallete (Fundació Sant Joan de Deu; E), Donad Ward (University of Manchester; UK).
Partner organisations are: Amgen GmbH; A (Erich Durchschlag), FH JOANNEUM GmbH; A (Jutta Pauschenwein), Novartis Pharma AG; CH (Klaus Seuwen), ImaBiotech; F (Jonathan Stauber), AHT Management Kft.; H (Andrew Hollo-Tas).
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