PRECODE - Innovative therapy approaches for pancreatic cancer
A pancreatic cancer diagnosis is normally a death sentence. According to the Robert Koch Institute, pancreatic carcinoma has the lowest survival rates among all cancerous diseases and is the fourth most common cause of cancer-related deaths. The reason: patients rarely have symptoms during the early stages of the illness. And when the illness is then noticeable, it is normally too late to cure them. The EU project PRECODE is searching for innovative therapeutic approaches here.
The central objective of the EU project PRECODE (PancREatic Cancer OrganoiDs rEsearch) is the creation of a European Training Network (ETN) with 22 partners from nine countries. The European Training Networks (ETN) are a variant of the Innovative Training Networks (ITN). The objective of ETNs is to educate exceptional doctoral students in a structured manner as part of excellent research projects. PRECODE enables fifteen young scientists in international and interdisciplinary doctoral programs to research pancreas organoids. Organoids are micro-organs that are grown in laboratories from tissue. Using these micro-organs, researches can better understand the incidence of disease and test therapies without animal trials.
This makes them the perfect testing environment for precision medicine in order to derive the best possible combinations of medication. Young researches are provided training via e-learning programmes, workshops, and longer research stays at partner institutions. In the process, young researches learn to cultivate and modify organoids as well as to develop the latest molecular biological techniques.
“This project is therefore so important because it is the first time in the EU that organoids are to be cultivated and used for therapy prediction in order to improve future therapies for pancreatic cancer. Just as important, however, is the establishment of a group of scientists who want to work together on this topic. The result is new, EU-wide expertise in the area of pancreatic cancer research,” explains Coordinator Prof. Dr. Christian Pilarsky from the University Hospital Erlangen.
As an ETN, PRECODE combines the research and education of a new generation of young researchers who think and act creatively and innovatively. This education includes both collaboration with industrial companies as well as structured training programmes in which BayFOR is also a partner. Here, doctoral students seek to develop innovative approaches in the area of pancreatic cancer research as well as soft skills, such as entrepreneurship, project management, or scientific communication.
Under the coordination of the University Hospital Erlangen, 21 additional research institutions and companies from Croatia, Germany, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom participate in PRECODE. This also includes three patient associations from Italy, Sweden, and Germany. The Bavarian Research Alliance provided extensive proposal writing support and now participates in PRECODE trainings as an associated partner (partner organisation).
“The Bavarian Research Alliance is an essential partner for us. They provided us with extensive application support, and the project was only successful with their expertise.” stresses Prof. Dr. Christian Pilarsky.
BayFOR organises multiple seminars for doctoral students on the topics of “EU Proposal Writing and Application”, “Intercultural Communication”, and “Project Management”. They also participate in the development of a corresponding curriculum for doctoral students.
Project aims and fields of work
Establishment of pancreas organoid research through the education of a new generation of young pancreatic cancer researchers.
The results of the PRECODE project will be of importance for the following stakeholders:
- Doctoral students
- Pharmaceutical industry
BayFOR as a partner
The Bavarian Research Alliance provided extensive proposal writing support and now participates in PRECODE training as an associated partner (partner organisation). BayFOR organises multiple seminars for doctoral students on the topics of “EU Proposal Writing and Application”, “Intercultural Communication”, and “Project Management”. They also participate in the development of a curriculum for doctoral students.
The EU will provide this EU research project with EUR 4 million in funding from October 2019 until September 2023 as a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (ITN) (Horizon 2020, Call: H2020-MSCA-ITN-2019) as per grant agreement no. 861196. Of this funding, EUR 760,000 will go to Bavarian stakeholders.
Under the coordination of the University Hospital Erlangen, 21 additional research institutions and companies from Croatia, Germany, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom participate in PRECODE.
Universitätsklinikum Erlangen, Germany
Akademisch Medisch Cemtrum bij de Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands
AstraZeneca PLC, United Kingdom
Bavarian Research Alliance, Germany
Cancerföreningen PALEMA, Sweden
cpo – cellular phenomics & onkolgy Berlin-Buch GmbH, Germany
FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany
Fondazione Nadia Valsecchi, Italy
Gdanski Uniwersytet Medyczny, Poland
Karolinska Institutet, Sweden
University Hospital rechts der Isar, TU Munich, Germany
Kungliga Tekniska Hoegskolan, Sweden
Mimetas BV, Netherlands
TEB e.V. Selbsthilfe, Germany
Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
Umea Universitet, Sweden
Universita degli studi die Verona, Italy
Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands
Universiteit Leiden, Netherlands
University of Navarra, Spain
University of Glasgow, United Kingdom