- Immune diseases and machine learning in new IMI Call for proposals
- Sign up for / catch up on the IMI2 – Call 14 webinars
- Meet IMI at BIO in Boston in June
- IMI 10th anniversary symposium - meet the Programme Committee
- Scientists identify five subtypes of diabetes
- Study sheds new light on mechanisms behind type 1 diabetes
- ONCOTRACK team identifies new way of tackling colon cancer
- US Antibacterial Resistance Leadership Group joins COMBACTE studies
- Sign up for the IMI-EMIF symposium
- ELF attracting attention even as it draws to a close
- IMI’s GetReal project: Faster access to better and safer medicines
- 'EUPATI has been a game-changer in the empowerment of patients’ – an interview with the project coordinators
Immune diseases and machine learning in new IMI Call for proposals
On 15 March, IMI launched IMI2 – Call 14 with 4 topics and a budget of EUR 82 million. The topics are:
- Targeted immune intervention for the management of non-response and relapse
- Non-invasive clinical molecular imaging of immune cells
- Development of a platform for federated and privacy-preserving machine learning in support of drug discovery
- Centre of excellence – remote decentralised clinical trials
Sign up for / catch up on the IMI2 – Call 14 webinars
IMI is holding webinars on all IMI2 – Call 14 topics as well as our rules and procedures and opportunities for SMEs. Recordings and slides from all webinars are published on the webinar page, along with lists of participants. The schedule, including registration links, is below. All times are Brussels times (Central European Summer Time, CEST). For webinars that have already taken place, a link to the recording is provided.
Registration for the webinars is free but obligatory via the links below.
- 16/03: Machine learning in support of drug discovery - watch the recording
- 19/03: Opportunities for SMEs - watch the recording
- 28/03, 15:00: Centre Of Excellence - Decentralised Clinical Trials - register
- 05/04, 15:00: Immune intervention for treatment of non-response - register
- 09/04, 15:00: Molecular imaging of immune cells - register
- 11/04, 10:30: IMI rules and procedures - register
Meet IMI at BIO in Boston in June
IMI will take part in this year’s BIO International Convention which will be held in Boston, US on 4-7 June inclusive. A highlight for IMI is the organisation of a session entitled ‘Will public-private partnerships take the leap into open science?’ in the BIO educational programme on Tuesday 5 June at 11:00. Pierre Meulien will also speak at a session on the value of vaccines in antimicrobial resistance on Wednesday 6 June at 13:45. In addition to this, IMI will be present at the European Commission’s booth (no. 1943) at the BIO Exhibition. There will be people on hand throughout the event to answer questions about IMI as well as the European Commission’s wider research programmes. The BIO International Convention (BIO) attracts 16 000+ biotechnology and pharma leaders who come together for one week of intensive networking and learning through educational sessions, the exhibition, and individual meetings.
IMI 10th anniversary symposium - meet the Programme Committee
There are just a few days left for scientists from IMI projects to submit abstracts for IMI’s Scientific Symposium on 22-23 October – the deadline is 7 April. Abstracts will be reviewed by a Programme Committee made up of leading scientists from a range of fields. The committee is chaired by Professor Michel Goldman.
- Professor Michel Goldman, Institute for Interdisciplinary Innovation in Healthcare (I³h), Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
- Professor Isabelle Bekeredjian-Ding, Paul Ehrlich-Institut, Federal Institute for Vaccines and Biomedicines, Germany
- Professor Daan Crommelin, Department of Pharmaceutics, Utrecht University, the Netherlands
- Professor Maria Beatriz Da Silva Lima, Faculty of Pharmacy, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal
- Dr Diane Gosselin, Consortium Québécois sur la Découverte du Medicament (CQDM), Canada
- Professor Trevor M Jones, Arix Bioscience plc, UK
- Dr Ángeles Rodriguez Peña, Alberto Sols Biomedical Research Institute, Spain
- Dr Cees Smit, The Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development, the Netherlands
- Professor Tanel Tenson, Institute of Technology, University of Tartu, Estonia
Details of how to submit an abstract, including a new questions and answers document, can be found on the event web page.
Scientists identify five subtypes of diabetes
Scientists have identified five subtypes of diabetes, a finding that will pave the way for more personalised treatments for the disease. The work, published in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology, was funded in part by IMI through the projects BEAT-DKD and RHAPSODY. Currently, two main types of diabetes are recognised, and diagnosis is through a measurement of a patient’s blood sugar levels. In this study, scientists monitored over 13 000 newly-diagnosed diabetes patients, analysing blood sugar levels, insulin resistance, insulin secretion, and age of onset among other things. This revealed five distinct groups of patients with different risk levels for certain complications associated with diabetes. For example, patients in group 2 (‘severe insulin-deficient diabetes’) are at greatest risk of eye disease, while patients in group 3 (‘severe insulin-resistant diabetes’) had the highest incidence of kidney damage. ‘Current diagnostics and classification of diabetes are insufficient and unable to predict future complications or choice of treatment,’ said Leif Groop of Lund University in Sweden. ‘This is the first step towards personalised treatment of diabetes.’ Until now, the team has only studied people in Sweden and Finland; they now plan to carry out similar studies in China and India, to see if their findings apply in different ethnic groups.
Study sheds new light on mechanisms behind type 1 diabetes
Scientists from the IMI project INNODIA have shed new light on the role of white blood cells and the thymus in the development of type 1 diabetes. The work is published in the journal Science Immunology. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that occurs when the immune system destroys the pancreatic beta cells responsible for producing insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. The immune cells that attack the beta cells are a sub-group of white blood cells called CD8+ T lymphocytes. T lymphocytes are created in the bone marrow and pass through an organ called the thymus before entering the blood stream. Scientists thought that the thymus presented T lymphocytes with fragments of proteins similar to those found in the beta cells of the pancreas; T lymphocytes that recognise the beta cell protein fragments are destroyed. They also thought that in people with type 1 diabetes, this process does not work properly, and the thymus allows auto-immune T lymphocytes that respond to beta cells to pass into the blood stream. However, in this latest study, scientists found that these auto-immune CD8+ T lymphocytes are found in similar numbers in the blood of both healthy people and people with diabetes. However, the team did find higher levels of the T lymphocytes in the pancreas of people with diabetes. The team believes that healthy people may be able to control these auto-immune T lymphocytes thanks to regulatory T lymphocytes. People with diabetes may lack this ability to control the auto-immune T lymphocytes; furthermore, if their pancreas is inflamed, this may make the beta cells even more ‘visible’ to the autoimmune T cells.
ONCOTRACK team identifies new way of tackling colon cancer
Scientists from IMI’s ONCOTRACK project have identified a new way of tackling colon cancer; their findings are published in the journal Cell Reports. Colon cancer is the third most common cancer and the fourth most common cause of cancer deaths worldwide. Research has shown that cancer stem cells, which multiply and differentiate into different cell types like normal stem cells, play a key role in driving the growth of colon cancer tumours. They are also thought to be behind relapses, when cancer returns following treatment. In this study, researchers studied the sequences of genes in cancer stem cells, and found a that cancer stem cell survival is controlled by a specific feature of the ‘Hedgehog’ signalling pathway which allows cells to respond to external signals and inhibits stem cell differentiation. Targeting the Hedgehog pathway in a similar way has delivered promising results in early-stage research on pancreatic and breast cancer cells. ‘The targeted inhibition of the Hedgehog signalling pathway, used in combination with other standard treatments to shrink tumours, may provide a new strategy for the elimination of cancer stem cells and the prevention of cancer recurrence,’ said the first author of the paper, Joseph Regan of the Charité Comprehensive Cancer Center. ‘Future research will set out to better define the downstream signalling components of the pathway and further investigate how Hedgehog signalling controls cancer stem cell survival.’
US Antibacterial Resistance Leadership Group joins COMBACTE studies
The Antibacterial Resistance Leadership Group (ARLG) has become the first US consortium to take part in clinical studies run by IMI’s COMBACTE programme on antimicrobial resistance. In a statement, the project described the news as a ‘major milestone’ that ‘clearly demonstrates the benefits of public-private collaboration and international collaboration between COMBACTE and ARLG’. The ARLG is joining two studies on treatments design to prevent pneumonia in people in intensive care who require a ventilator to help them breathe. The SAATELLITE study focuses on pneumonia caused by Staphylococcus aureus, while EVADE focuses on infections caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Currently, 15 US sites are slated to participate in the trials; the first, in Detroit, was activated in January. ‘It is becoming increasingly common for hospitalised patients—especially those with weakened immune systems—to develop severe, hard-to-treat bacterial infections,’ said Anthony S. Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) which is supporting the ARLG’s participation in the studies. ‘These clinical trials […] are part of a global collaborative effort to explore innovative ways to mitigate the threat of antimicrobial resistance.’ Meanwhile COMBACTE-NET coordinator Hasan Jafri of MedImmune said: ‘We believe collaboration with world-renowned experts, such as those within COMBACTE and the ARLG, is one of the best models to advance development in this area, and bring novel and effective anti-infectives to patients.’
Sign up for the IMI-EMIF symposium
IMI’s EMIF project will hold a public symposium entitled ‘Liberating evidence from European health data – the achievements and challenges of a five year IMI project: EMIF’ on 18 April in Brussels, Belgium. The meeting will bring together a large variety of stakeholders to discuss issues such as the value of re-using healthcare data, how the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will affect the re-use of healthcare data, how to better involve patients, and how the healthcare data ecosystem will evolve. The day will also feature ample opportunities for networking.
Registration is free but obligatory – to sign up, fill in this form by 1 April.
More information can be found on the EMIF homepage and in this document.
ELF attracting attention even as it draws to a close
As one of IMI’s flagship projects, the European Lead Factory (ELF), continues to attract attention and has recently been featured as a success story on the European Commission website. Among other things, the article talks about how the demand for ELF services continues to grow and how the project is already helping Europe’s pharmaceutical sector deliver real progress. After five years of success, the project is now drawing to a close and will soon have its next stakeholder meeting, which will be held in Brussels, Belgium on 17 April 2018. Registration is still open.
IMI’s GetReal project: Faster access to better and safer medicines
A potential drawback of clinical trials of new drugs is that they do not always reflect how well these will work in the 'real world'. IMI's GetReal project broke ground in that it brought together companies, healthcare decision makers, patient representatives and other stakeholders to generate a consensus on best practice in the use of real-world evidence in drug development, as well as regulatory and reimbursement decision-making. It is hoped that the alternative evidence-generating strategies developed will deliver more focused research in pharmaceutical R&D and allow healthcare decision makers to be more confident when giving patients access to new treatments. ‘Uncertainty slows things down with regard to getting new medicines to market,' says Chris Chinn, GetReal’s deputy project coordinator. ‘Social and economic benefits should follow if we have been successful in helping individual research teams work with the healthcare decision makers to define evidence-based studies that ensure effective medicines have a smoother path to patients, freeing up research capital for other projects and ensuring patients start to benefit sooner.’ Read the full story
'EUPATI has been a game-changer in the empowerment of patients’ – an interview with the project coordinators
EUPATI built a much-needed programme for patient involvement in medicines research and development, and has been a game changer for patient empowerment in Europe, building a movement that will long outlive the project itself. In an interview with the IMI Programme Office, project coordinator Jan Geissler of the European Patients Forum, and Matthias Gottwald of Bayer explain how patients in Europe and beyond are benefitting from the work that was done. ‘EUPATI has been a game-changer in the empowerment of patients because we can see people trained by EUPATI almost everywhere, be it in regulatory committees, industry-led research projects and clinical trials, academic projects or ethics committees,’ said Geissler. ‘We can clearly see the difference that this empowerment makes. For example, before training patients are usually not involved in these kinds of committees and research projects, and after the training they suddenly get engaged. The final goal is to improve the outcomes for patients and that’s why involving patients in R&D, clinical trials design and regulatory decisions is absolutely crucial. We’ve achieved that and we can see a change already.’ Full interview