Pully, February 8th, 2010. – Beginning February 1st, the European Union is supporting a research project for the application of nanotechnology-based methods in rheumatoid arthritis research and therapy. This grant is situated within the framework of the FP 7 program „Nanosciences, Nanotechnologies, Materials and new Production Technologies“ or NMP. The consortium consists of 15 European partners from universities as well as indepentent research institutions. A budget of nearly 9 million Euro has been allocated over a 4-year time span.
Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are common diseases causing great suffering. In the past, there existed neither sufficient diagnostic methods to detect the disease in an early stadium, nor satisfying techniques for the evaluation of different treatment methods. To further the research in this area, the European Commussion supports the interdisciplinary consortium „Development of novel nanotechnology based diagnostic systems for Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis » (NanoDiaRA) within the 7th European Research Framework Programme. The main goal of this project is to establish new diagnostic methods for the easy and early detection of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Specifically, modified superparamagnetic nanoparticles will be used, which have been developed and customized for several years by Professor Heinrich Hofmann, Laboratoire de Technologie des Poudres, at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale Lausanne.
The NanoDiaRA project was initiated in the end of 2007 by Prof. Heinrich Hofmann and Dr. Margarethe Hofmann-Amtenbrink, MatSearch Consulting. MatSearch Cosulting is providing the scientific coordination for the consortium and is responsible for two work packages involving data management, intellectual property, communication, education and training. The Europäische Akademie zur Erforschung von Folgen wissenschaftlich-technischer Entwicklungen Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler GmbH (Germany) is coordinator of the project and furthermore responsible for a work package involving the accompanying ethical research of the project. Switzerland is represented by 7 partners, four university partners (EPFL, University of Geneva, University of Fribourg, CSEM) and three companies (Merck Serono, Arrayon and MatSearch Consulting Hofmann). Dr. A. Robin Poole, Professor Emeritus, McGill University and, amongst many other memberships a member of the Board of Directors, Osteoarthritis Research Society International (2007-) will act as expert in this project.
The following international partners are participating:
- Europäische Akademie zur Erforschung von Folgen wissenschaftlich-technischer Entwicklungen Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler GmbH (Germany) – coordinator
- NAMAR Medical AB (Sweden)
- Charité Universitätsmedizin (Germany), Rheumatology Clinic
- Merck Chimie – Estapor Microspheres Division (France)
- Paracelsus Medical University (Austria), Institute of Anatomy & Musculosketal Research
- Universitäty of Lund (Sweden), Department of Experimental Medical Science
- Universität of Nijmegen (Netherlands), Rheumatology
- Universität of Tartu (Estland), Internal Medicine Faculty of Medicine