First EU Horizon2020 project

First EU Horizon2020 project with AO Research Institute Davos partner

19 June 2015

Mobility, important for well-being, is seriously impaired in many people by chronic low back pain and osteoarthritis due to degeneration of cartilaginous tissue of the intervertebral disc and joint. The aim of the project TargetCaRe (Targeting cartilage regeneration in joint and intervertebral disc diseases) is to achieve regeneration of damaged and degenerated tissues by employing targeting strategies tailored to the pathology and the tissues involved. Towards this aim, AO Research Institute Davos scientists collaborate with other experts in advanced drug delivery carriers with dedicated targeting tools, state of the art imaging techniques, and joint or disc biology. Regeneration of diseased tissues will be achieved by loading biologically active agents in state-of-the-art nanocarriers.

Consortium members at the kick-off meeting at
Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam.

The biologically active agents will stimulate the body’s own capacity to regenerate by attracting local stem cells or inhibiting degeneration. Delivery and retention will be assessed by advanced in vivo and molecular imaging techniques to monitor distribution of the delivered compounds at the tissue level, as well as detect biological markers of regeneration.

TargetCaRe is a 4-year European Training Network (ETN) project run by a consortium of 12 partner institutions located in 5 different countries. One major objective of the Network is to train 15 young scientists who will complete their PhD thesis in the context of TargetCaRe. As such TargetCaRe will establish a network of scientists skilled in the use of smart nanocarriers, unique approaches of targeting by disease specific molecules, and application of innovative imaging tools.

The AO Research Institute Davos scientists Prof. Mauro Alini and Dr. Sibylle Grad are significantly involved in the project as leaders of the Work Package on Intervertebral Disc Regeneration. The role of the AO Research Institute Davos is to provide advanced bioreactor systems for joint and disc in order to evaluate the newly developed nanocarriers with bioactive factors in relevant ex-vivo conditions. The project Target CaRe receives funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 642414. Funding for AO Research Institute Davos is CHF 530k in total, which includes two 3-year PhD positions starting in autumn 2015.

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