Strong CoMMiTMenT to research on rare anaemia
October 22, 2013
Launch of new EU-funded project on red blood cell diseases
Anaemia affects 1.6 billion people worldwide. Approximately 10% of these individuals suffer from rare anaemia. Although the number of affected individuals is substantial, causes of the approximately 90 different types of red blood cell diseases have not yet been adequately investigated. The link between molecular causes and clinical symptoms in red blood cell diseases like sickle cell anaemia and thalassemia is still poorly understood and appropriate treatment is often ineffective or even lacking so far.
As a consequence, there is a high demand for new tools for improved diagnosis and monitoring of disease progression. This is where CoMMiTMenT (Combined Molecular Microscopy for Therapy and Personalized Medication in Rare Anaemias Treatments), a new EU-funded research project, comes into play: With a total funding of about € 6 million euros over the next five years, the overall goal of CoMMiTMenT is the development of reliable tools for scientific understanding, clinical diagnosis and therapeutic interventions in rare anaemia treatments.
The innovative approach of the international research group, led by Dr Lars Kaestner, Head of the Centre for Molecular Imaging and Screening at Saarland University, is based on the combination of specific imaging technologies (molecular and functional imaging). “The individual technologies, and to a larger extent the unique fusion of technologies, will allow for the identification and probing of the molecular players that underlie rare anaemia. In doing so, this innovative technology will provide a novel diagnostic tool leading to a better understanding of the underlying pathophysiology of rare anaemia. This will enable us to develop new (personalised) treatments for this group of established, emerging, and as yet undiscovered red blood cell disorders”, says Kaestner.
In order to implement this ambitious work plan, Kaestner has brought together a multidisciplinary consortium, which combines outstanding expertise from successfully operating, research-intensive small and medium sized enterprises and leading academic institutions. In addition, the consortium includes clinical partners and builds a strong relationship with the European Network for Rare and Congenital Anaemias (ENERCA) and also contributes to the goal of the International Rare Diseases Research Consortium (IRDiRC) to deliver novel diagnostic modalities and 200 new therapies for rare diseases by 2020.
After the recent start of the project on October 1, 2013, all consortium partners came together in Amsterdam/IJmuiden on October 9 and 10 to officially kick off the project’s activities.