EU-funded projects supported by ECNP

 

  • PRIME
    Prevention and Remediation of Insulin Multimorbidity in Europe
  • EBRA
    European Brain Research Area
  • c4c
    conect4children
  • Eat2beNICE
    Effects of Nutrition and Lifestyle on Impulsive, Compulsive and Externalising Behaviour
  • EQIPD
    European Quality In Preclinical Data
  • PRISM
    Psychiatric Ratings using Intermediate Stratified Markers

SEROTONIN and BEYONDSEROTONIN and BEYOND - EU project

When a patient is treated for psychiatric symptoms, they are often given drugs that affect brain serotonin levels. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter and critically involved in the communication between nerve cells in the brain. An important problem with these ‘serotonergic’ drugs is that patients don’t always respond to them. In addition to being a neurotransmitter, serotonin has a major influence on brain development. Recent discoveries in brain research indicate that serotonin-mediated changes in brain development play an important role in the cause of psychiatric disorders. However, these changes in brain development are not the target of current drug treatments, and this may explain why they are not as effective as we want them to be.

The SEROTONIN and BEYOND project aims to train the next generation of serotonin researchers and deliver new fundamental insights in how early life changes in serotonin caused by genetic or environmental factors alter brain development and thereby contribute to the cause of serotonergic psychiatric disorders. These new insights have the potential to reveal novel targets for future therapies, as well as the developmental windows in which such interventions would be most effective. This multi-disciplinary project brings together researchers from leading European universities and institutes to create a network with world-leading expertise in serotonin research and training. Together, these partners will train fifteen talented PhD-students to lead research in serotonin, neural development and psychiatry in the years ahead. 

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Information about recruitment via this link.

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Coordinator: Dr. Judith Homberg, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Funding scheme: Horizon2020
Duration: 4 years
Start: 1.1.2021


PRIME project logo

PRIME

Prevention and Remediation of Insulin Multimorbidity in Europe

PRIME addresses insulin-related signaling. Dysfunctional insulin signaling is a key modulator of mental and non-mental chronic diseases. However, until now scientific studies have overlooked these insulin-related “co-occurring diseases”. PRIME aims to generate innovative diagnostic and treatment strategies to improve the monitoring and clinical outcomes of patients. In addition, it aims to identify and specify the molecular mechanisms underlying insulin multimorbidities.

Dysregulation of insulin signalling has been implicated in multimorbidity across the lifespan. It affects somatic diseases including type-2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity, and Romano Ward Syndrome (a heart condition characterised by a long QT interval). New research shows that altered insulin signalling also affects brain-based diseases. This includes neurodegenerative brain disorders (dementia and Alzheimer’s disease) and compulsivity-linked neurodevelopmental disorders (obsessive-compulsive disorder and autism spectrum disorders). Diseases characterised by dysregulation of insulin signaling (i.e. insulinopathies) present major health, societal, and economic burden. These insulin-associated diseases are mostly chronic, and with limited or absent curative treatments.

The somatic diseases linked to altered insulin signalling are currently known to affect over 20% of the population and are associated with over 1.2 trillion US$ in global healthcare costs annually. To date, the recognition and clinical management of insulin comorbidity remain poorly established. Brain-based comorbidity is generally neglected, and medical efforts are only devoted to the management of the primary, somatic diagnosis. In PRIME, they posit that insulin-related disease has widespread effects on other, comorbid somatic and mental diseases throughout an individual’s lifetime. Thus, the identification of insulin-related comorbidity early in life (as in obsessive-compulsive disorder and autism) may have important implications for monitoring and treatment decisions both early and later in life.

The overall aims of PRIME are to:

  • Identify and specify the molecular mechanisms underlying the insulin co-occurring diseases.
  • Investigate the diseases that cause the highest-burden and costs to patients and society.
  • Outline new directions for research and clinical care.

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Coordinator: Prof. Dr. Barbara Franke, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Funding scheme: Horizon2020
Duration: 5 years
Start: 01.01.2020


EBRA EU project supported by ECNP

EBRA

European Brain Research Area

The highly diversified nature of European public research represents a considerable obstacle in the European Research Area, especially in the field of brain research. The EU and its Member States have already made considerable investments in brain research, leading to a significant increase of initiatives in this area, particularly under Horizon 2020. Although these initiatives have generated considerable amounts of knowledge and innovative approaches, more co-ordinated efforts to identify gaps and highlight priorities are needed, to combat the complexity of the challenge.

To respond to this call, the EBRA (European Brain Research Area) project was created as a catalysing platform for brain research stakeholders (researchers, clinicians, patients, governments, funders and public institutions) to streamline and better co-ordinate brain research across Europe while fostering global initiatives. EBRA aims at reducing the fragmentation and duplication of research efforts and at fostering synergies through enhanced co-ordination of brain research efforts at the EU and global level.

The EBRA Consortium will work to align and better co-ordinate research strategies across European and global brain initiatives; facilitate the emergence of research projects in specific areas in active clusters and provide support for effective collaboration. This includes enabling the sharing of data and access to research infrastructures, increasing the visibility of the brain research portfolio as a whole, and promoting the uptake of EBRA results to key stakeholders. EBRA is based on a conceptual approach that focuses on two related but distinct levels:

  • At the strategic level, EBRA will create the Shared European Brain Research Agenda and establish a dialogue to lay down the foundations for a Global Brain Research Agenda
  • At the operational level, EBRA will create the condition for effective collaboration among projects in a range of thematic area and crosscutting issue

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Download the EBRA brochure

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- The European Brain Research Area
EBRA workshop: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Data Sharing

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Scientific Clusters
An EBRA scientific cluster is understood as a research community that can be directed towards basic research, clinical research and/or methodological approaches under a common topic and disease area within brain research. EBRA currently has approved the following clusters:

Coordinator: European Brain Council
Funding scheme: Horizon2020
Duration: 3 years
Start: 01.11.2018


AIMS-2-TRIALS EU-funded project supported by ECNP

AIMS-2-TRIALS

Autism Innovative Medicine Studies-2-Trials

Around 5.5 million people in Europe have autism, which affects the way that they communicate and experience the world. Approximately 70% of autistic people also have co-occurring conditions, such as anxiety, depression or epilepsy, which affect their wellbeing. It has been difficult to develop treatments for autism and these co-occurring conditions because autism is extremely diverse, varying between people and across different stages of life.

AIMS-2-TRIALS (Autism Innovative Medicine Studies-2-Trials) is a research programme that will explore the biology of autism to tailor treatments and develop new medicines. The research programme includes a range of studies carried out by different groups. These will examine how autism develops, from before birth to adulthood, and how this varies in different people. They will look for biological markers which indicate whether a person has or may develop particular characteristics. These markers could help to identify who may ultimately benefit from particular treatments. They will also test medicines to help with social difficulties, repetitive behaviours and sensory processing. To accelerate medicine development, the consortium will build a network of connected people across Europe and beyond. AIMS-2-TRIALS will put Europe at the forefront of autism research.

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Funding scheme: IMI 2; EFPIA; SFARI; Autistica; Autism Speaks
Duration: 5 years
Start: 01.06.2018


conect4children

 

c4c

Conect4children

c4c (conect4children) is a landmark pan-European network that aims to facilitate the development of new drugs and other therapies for the entire paediatric population. It is a pioneering opportunity to build capacity for the implementation of multinational paediatric clinical trials whilst ensuring the needs of babies, children, young people and their families are met.

c4c is a novel collaboration between the academic and the private sectors, which includes 35 academic and 10 industry partners from 20 European countries, more than 50 third parties, and around 500 affiliated partners. c4c endeavours to provide a sustainable, integrated platform for the efficient and swift delivery of high-quality clinical trials in children and young people across all conditions and phases of the drug development process. c4c strives to bring innovative processes to clinical development by generating a new model of organisation. By emphasising inclusiveness and collaboration across geographical, specialty, sectoral, cultural and societal backgrounds, it will set up a infrastructure to support the evaluation of medicines in children. In this manner, it will become a benchmark in the currently fragmented European clinical research environment. Best practices and up-to-date expert advice will inform the c4c approaches and methods, which will subsequently be refined in the context of viability trials.

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Funding scheme: IMI 2; EFPIA
Duration: 6 years
Start: 01.05.2018


Eat2beNICE_logo

Eat2beNICE

Effects of Nutrition and Lifestyle on Impulsive, Compulsive and Externalising Behaviours

Eat2BeNICE is an EU-funded medical consortium that studies the connections between gut microbiota, diet, and exercise to formulate nutrition and lifestyle recommendations for brain health.

Early research has shown evidence of a sizeable impact of nutrition on behaviours such as impulsivity and compulsivity. The consortium is therefore interested in studying how dietary components (including sugar, fat and protein content, vitamin and mineral supplements, food additives and probiotics) and lifestyle factors (including exercise) influence people’s overall health, brain function and behaviour. Specifically, they aim to identify nutritional drivers and lifestyle variations that could prevent harmful effects on impulsivity and compulsivity across the lifespan. This will enable them to better understand the paths leading to impulsivity and compulsivity in the brain via the gut (microbiota and their metabolic effects). They aim to promote societal changes that will counteract maladaptive impulsivity and compulsivity by bringing evidence-based information about health-related behaviours to families, clinicians, policymakers and the general public.

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Video
The Gut Brain Connection and Your Mental Health

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Coordinator: Dr. Alejandro Arias Vasquez, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Funding scheme: Horizon2020
Duration: 5 years
Start: 01.09.2017


EQIPD

European Quality In Preclinical Data

The pharmaceutical industry and basic research depend on robust data and scientific rigour as key drivers for decision making. They determine the pace of knowledge gain and ultimately the time needed to make new drug treatments available to patients. Recent publications report challenges with regard to the robustness, rigour and validity of research data, which often impact the transition from preclinical to clinical testing. As a result, the development of new medicines has slowed dramatically in the last 10 years. The EQIPD project seeks to provide simple and sustainable solutions that facilitate data quality without impacting innovation and freedom of research. The EQIPD consortium will:

  • Define those variables in study design and data analysis that influence outcome in pre-clinical neuroscience (focus on Alzheimer’s disease and psychosis) and (neuro-)safety studies conducted in industry
  • Establish whether these are the same variables which influence outcome in academia
  • Define the components which will make up the EQIPD quality management system
  • Define consensus quality management recommendations for non-regulated research and development
  • Validate the feasibility of the quality management system in prospective studies
  • Deliver an online educational platform providing certified education and training in the principles and application of quality and rigour

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EQIPD video series

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Coordinator: Prof. Malcolm Macleod, The University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Project leader: Dr. Thomas Steckler, Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, Belgium
Funding scheme: IMI 2; EFPIA
Duration: 3 years
Start: 01.10.2017


PRISM

Psychiatric Ratings using Intermediate Stratified Markers

The current nosology of neuropsychiatric disorders allows for a pragmatic approach to treatment choice, regulation and clinical research that is not based on the biological causes for these disorders. Unfortunately, neuropsychiatric drug development has stalled in the past decades at least in part through the weakness of the link between clinical classification and biological causation.

The PRISM project aims to develop a quantitative biological approach to the understanding of neuropsychiatric diseases that aims to revitalise the discovery and development of more effective treatments for patients. The project will focus on schizophrenia (SZ), Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and major depression (MD), disorders that share in part common symptomatologies, including social withdrawal and certain cognitive deficits, such as attention, working memory and sensory processing.

Innovative technologies will be used to deep phenotype a clinical cohort of SZ and AD patients. The aim will be to derive a set of quantifiable biological parameters from these data that allow to cluster and differentiate SZ, AD and MD patients who are, or are not, socially withdrawn. This set of parameters will:

  • Provide new classification and assessment tools for social withdrawal and cognitive deficits across three neuropsychiatric disorders.
  • Identify clinically relevant biological substrates for treatment development.
  • Provide predictive model systems for future neurobiological and pharmacological studies.

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PRISM video series

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Coordinator: Prof. Dr. Martien Kas, University of Groningen, The Netherlands
Industry Project Leader: Dr. Hugh Marston, Eli Lilly and Company Ltd
Funding scheme: IMI 2; EFPIA
Duration: 3 years
Start: 1.4.2016