Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

EU invests 10.7 million Euro on EICOSANOX - a top-ranking project led from Karolinska Institutet

14.02.2005


A decision has now been taken on the grant that the EU’s Sixth Framework Programme is to provide for EICOSANOX, a major research project coordinated by Karolinska Institutet’s Professor Jesper Z. Haeggström. The project, which ranked highest in its category, is an Integrated Project (IP) and is to be allocated research funding of 10.7 million euro over the course of five years. A total of 15 research groups from six European nations will be merged into a very large multi-disciplinary consortium, including a team from Canada and two biotech companies. The research is focused on prostaglandins, leukotrienes and nitric oxide, all of which are central to widespread diseases like cardiovascular disorders, atherosclerosis, dementia and cancer.



Several components of the project have given the EU cause to rank this project high:

• Relevance - it concerns important disease groups that are responsible for the majority of all deaths in Europe.
• European expertise – there is already unique expertise in Europe equal to the best in the USA and Japan.


• It has clear commercial potential, something which is given priority in the EU’s Sixth Framework Programme.

The research examines the enzyme systems that govern the formation of certain signal substances in the body, particularly derivatives of arachidonic acid. These substances control the course of events during inflammation and fever as well as blood coagulation and cellular growth. They are therefore of significance to several major disease areas, such as cardiovascular diseases, dementia and cancer. If scientists learn how to control these signal substances, they may be able to find suitable therapies. The annual global sales of drugs in these therapeutic areas have been estimated to more than 100 million Euro.

“I’ve hand-picked every single group involved,” says Professor Jesper Z. Haeggström, who is leading the consortium from Karolinska Institutet. “All of them are at the forefront of their specialist research fields.”

The consortium brings together research groups from Sweden, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, Ireland and Spain, with three different specialisations: COX, LOX and NOS, abbreviations that stand for three different enzyme systems and their products. The systems and their functions are intimately integrated in the body, and the objective of the project is for the groups to meet and pool their knowledge. One important goal is to identify new genes that are involved in the regulation of COX, LOX and NOS, and that can be used to develop new drugs.

Enzymes of the COX family regulate the formation of prostaglandins from arachidonic acid (a fatty acid). “We block this system every time we take a normal aspirin, and this is also where the controversial COX-2 inhibitors, VIOXX and Celebrex, have their effect,” continues Professor Haeggström.

The second enzyme type, LOX, is necessary for the formation of leukotrienes, which are also derived from arachidonic acid. Important drugs have been produced in this area too, in particular the anti-leukotrienes that are used in the treatment of asthma and allergic hay fever. The third specialisation involves NOS, the enzyme active in the synthesis of nitric oxide, the central role of which has become all the more noted recently. The system is affected, for instance, during nitroglycerine therapy for angina and on the treatment of impotence with the now infamous Viagra.

Apart from four groups at Karolinska Institutet, the network formed through the consortium includes the University of Frankfurt, which has research groups in all three areas. Cardiologists from Italy’s D’Annunzio University are also involved, along with British researchers from the renowned William Harvey Institute and Salvador Moncada, one of the world’s most eminent researchers in the field of nitric oxide. The Canadian group is specialised in animal models for studies of eicosanoids. Two biotech companies, the Swedish Biolipox AB and the Franco-Italian NicOx, are also taking part.

Research into prostaglandins and leukotrienes (also known as eicosanoids) has long been a flagship field of research in Sweden and one in which we have led the world. The substances were discovered at Karolinska Institutet, which earned Sune Bergström and Bengt Samuelsson, together with John R. Vane from England, the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1982.

“Karolinska Institutet has trained many of today’s leading Japanese and American researchers in eicosanoids,” says Professor Haeggström.

The consortium includes four groups from Sweden and Karolinska Institutet:

• Professor Haeggström’s team at the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics, specialising in preclinical basic research into eicosanoids and the COX and LOX enzyme systems.
• Jon Lundberg’s team at the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, specialising in nitric oxides and their role in the body’s immune systems.
• Göran K. Hansson’s team at the Department of Medicine at Karolinska University Hospital in Solna, specialising in clinical research into atherosclerosis and vascular inflammation.
• Pär Nordlund’s team, which has recently moved to Karolinska Institutet and the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics in order to work with determination of protein structures by X-ray crystallography at large scale.

“For us at Karolinska Institutet, this grant provides valuable long-term basic support at a time when national medical research funds have been completely drained,” says Professor Haeggström. “Each one of the four KI groups will receive between 50 000 and 200 000 Euro per year for five years, and we’ll also be getting extra resources for the administration and coordination of the consortium.”

Jesper Z. Haeggström | alfa
Further information:
http://www.mbb.ki.se

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Nanoparticle Exposure Can Awaken Dormant Viruses in the Lungs
16.01.2017 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

nachricht Cholera bacteria infect more effectively with a simple twist of shape
13.01.2017 | Princeton University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

Im Focus: Newly proposed reference datasets improve weather satellite data quality

UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration

"Traffic and weather, together on the hour!" blasts your local radio station, while your smartphone knows the weather halfway across the world. A network of...

Im Focus: Repairing defects in fiber-reinforced plastics more efficiently

Fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) are frequently used in the aeronautic and automobile industry. However, the repair of workpieces made of these composite materials is often less profitable than exchanging the part. In order to increase the lifetime of FRP parts and to make them more eco-efficient, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and the Apodius GmbH want to combine a new measuring device for fiber layer orientation with an innovative laser-based repair process.

Defects in FRP pieces may be production or operation-related. Whether or not repair is cost-effective depends on the geometry of the defective area, the tools...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Multiregional brain on a chip

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

New technology enables 5-D imaging in live animals, humans

16.01.2017 | Information Technology

Researchers develop environmentally friendly soy air filter

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>