Title: Novel Biomaterial-based Device for the Treatment of Progressive MS. An Integrated Pan-European Approach
OVERVIEW OF THE PROGRAMME
PMSMatTrain focuses on gaining a comprehensive understanding of the progressive phase of multiple sclerosis (PMS) from basics to translation, fully supported by eight beneficiaries (six research institutions and two SMEs).
The consortium will develop a multi-modal “tuneable” hydrogel-based medical device designed to bring about biphasic release of anti-inflammatory molecules and neuroprotective drugs as well as generating a clinically-relevant in silico model of drug elution and dispersal within the central nervous system. Using “state-of-the-art” 3D organotypic cultures and disease-relevant oligodendrocytes produced from MS patient-derived stem cells, the project will allow investigation MS pathophysiology as well as analysing the role of therapeutic molecules in combatting inflammation and promoting regeneration and neuroprotection. The industry partners will develop the end-device by providing standardised manufacturing protocols for scaled-up production and commercialisation of the final product.
PMSMatTrain is a multidisciplinary European Training Network that will educate and train 15 Early Stage Researchers in functionalised biomaterials, materials science, stem cell biology, pre-clinical models, molecular biology, in silico modelling, functionalisation strategies and prototype design. Programme fellows will experience both public and private sector research and development and will be best placed to secure employment as high calibre, innovative and well-trained graduates.
PROGRESSIVE MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS (PMS)
Currently, systemic delivery of drugs for PMS is limited by the inability of drugs to cross the blood-brain-barrier (BBB). The PMSMatTrain project will develop new technology that allows controlled and targeted delivery of therapeutic molecules directly to the brain cortical tissue, exploiting “tuneable” biomaterials that allow a multi-phasic delivery of therapeutics from a minimally-invasive implantable device in the skull. Aimed specifically at generating drug regimes for treatment of the later progressive phases of MS, cocktails of anti-inflammatory agents and molecules that promote repair and protect neurones will be studied using cutting-edge models of disease pathology, in silico modelling of drug release and dispersal and development of a scaffold-based medical device.
TRAINING OF RESEARCHERS
The recruited early stage researchers (ESRs) will receive compulsory discipline-specific, generic and complementary training. The PMSMatTrain’s Joint Research Education and Training programme provides high quality research and transferable skills training in intellectual property, leadership skills, innovation, regulatory affairs, gender policy, and medical device evaluation.
A unique feature of the grant is the bespoke training within four research summer schools for early researchers enrolled in this specially-designed training programme. The acquirement of skills through both specific training and intersectoral placements within the consortium (secondments) will ensure that the fellows develop greater proficiency in a variety of topics including: research management, research ethics, health and safety, report and technical writing, team-based research, and entrepreneurship. The contents of the research summer schools highlight the local expertise of host partners, as well as featuring contributions from all network partners.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 813263.