The EuroNeurotrophin training network in a nutshell
The unmet medical need
Neurodegenerative diseases (ND), like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis and motor neuron disease, are on the rise worldwide. Alzheimer’s disease alone affects 36 million people in the world and 7 million in Europe. The economic burden for ND exceeds 724 billion € and it will become a trillion euros by 2019. Currently, there is no cure for any ND and most of the available drugs fail to tackle ND pathogenesis.
Role of neurotrophins…
Neurotrophins are a family of closely related secreted proteins that have been shown to control a number of aspects of survival, development and function of neurons both in the central and the peripheral nervous systems.
Preclinical studies point to the therapeutic potential of neurotrophins in preventing or slowing the progression of ND. Thus, neurotrophins have been proposed as therapeutic agents for neurodegenerative diseases.
However, the poor pharmacokinetic properties of neurotrophins, mainly because of their sensitivity to proteolysis, restricted penetration of the blood–brain barrier, and limited ability to diffuse in tissues, render their use as drugs prohibitive.
Our proposed solution …
The key idea behind this project is to address the major limitations of neurotrophins by developing novel small molecule, neurotrophin mimetics with favourable profiles of stability, tissue penetration and targeted biological actions.
… includes training of researchers with the required skill set.
This approach requires highly skilled researchers that have a deep understanding of neurotrophins and their function, comprehend all steps of drug discovery and development for ND, and possess the necessary skills to translate results into novel new therapies by linking academia and industry.
Our motivation – why us?
This consortium is motivated by seminal (patented) results of EuroNeurotrophin beneficiaries NHRF and FORTH, who have recently demonstrated promising effects of small neurotrophin mimetics in neuroprotection and neurogenesis.
EuroNeurotrophin will be the first European consortium to study small molecule neurotrophin mimetics (synthetic or natural) in depth, use them as molecular probes to interrogate neurotrophins, and emphasise their clinical translation.
The network builds on previous successful collaborations, enriched with key specialists and partners. Jointly, the consortium aims to accelerate the translation of identified lead compounds to drug candidate molecules.
The consortium has been designed to address the need for the development of new ND treatments through the collaborative training of 14 early-stage researchers (ESRs). It consists of 12 leading European research groups and 6 private companies of complementary expertise covering all steps of drug discovery and development. Collectively we will conduct a unique training programme that could not be achieved by doctoral training within a single academic institution.
Dr Theodora Calogeropoulou
01.01.2018 - 31.12.2021
3.56 million euro
This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 framework programme for research and innovation under grant agreement No 765704.