EU-funded projects supported by ECNP
Below you can find all EU-funded projects supported by ECNP in chronological order, from the most recent to the oldest.
Psychiatric Ratings using Intermediate Stratified Markers 2
Building on the success of innovative research by the PRISM project, the new PRISM 2 project aims to identify quantitative biological features common across the diseases, opening the possibility of developing targeted treatments irrespective of traditional diagnosis.
The original PRISM project had taken the first steps at developing a suite of biological tests, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), blood tests, smartphone monitoring and electroencephalograms (EEG), which will allow more objective diagnosis of the conditions, and indicate which brain mechanisms are involved, potentially identifying targets for tailored treatment.
PRISM launched in 2016, worked with patients to measure brain and behavioural activities using a variety of new and existing techniques. The project focussed on Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia and used social dysfunction, which is common to both conditions, as a key to access the underlying causes. This part of the project has successfully identified measurable biological indicators related to traditional diagnoses of schizophrenia and Alzheimer disease. However, the unbiased approach in PRISM also allowed a novel “transdiagnostic” link between a neural circuit and social dysfunction to be identified. The new PRISM 2 project aims to probe these findings more deeply as well as casting the net more broadly to include major depressive disorder (MDD).
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Coordinator: Prof. Dr. Martien Kas, University of Groningen, The Netherlands
Project Leader: Dr. Hugh Marston, CNS Disease Research, Germany
Funding scheme: IMI 2; EFPIA; Horizon2020; Cohen Veterans Bioscience (CVB)
Duration: 3 years
Using real-world big data from eHealth, biobanks and national registries, integrated with clinical trial data to improve outcome of severe mental disorders
Mental disorders represent one of the largest burdens for the European Health Care system, due to large number of patients and a lack of efficient treatment options. Today, drug treatment of mental disorders is characterized by severe adverse effects and suboptimal response in more than a third of the patients. Optimizing treatment is based on a trial-and-error approach, which combined with frequent multi-morbidities, often leads to polypharmacy and poor outcome. Due to limited understanding of the disease mechanisms that underlie mental disorders, new drugs with novel therapeutic targets are lacking, and existing treatments are ineffective for many people. It is therefore urgent that cutting-edge research approaches are deployed to develop innovative tools to individualize treatments using available psychiatric medication, and thus improve clinical outcomes and reduce costs for health care systems.
The main aim of REALMENT is to bring personalized medicine interventions to psychiatry across Europe. The goal is to develop: i) a sustainable data infrastructure (REAL-WD platform) to facilitate access to Real-World Data (RWD) data across Europe; ii) novel artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) tools to exploit large datasets/volumes of data; iii) a clinical management platform (4MENT) with prediction algorithms for medication response and adverse effects to significantly improve patient outcomes and quality of life.
Coordinator: University of Oslo
Funding scheme: Horizon2020
Duration: 4 years
SEROTONIN and BEYOND
When a patient is treated for psychiatric symptoms, they are often given drugs that affect brain serotonin levels. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter and critically involved in the communication between nerve cells in the brain. An important problem with these ‘serotonergic’ drugs is that patients don’t always respond to them. In addition to being a neurotransmitter, serotonin has a major influence on brain development. Recent discoveries in brain research indicate that serotonin-mediated changes in brain development play an important role in the cause of psychiatric disorders. However, these changes in brain development are not the target of current drug treatments, and this may explain why they are not as effective as we want them to be.
The SEROTONIN and BEYOND project aims to train the next generation of serotonin researchers and deliver new fundamental insights in how early life changes in serotonin caused by genetic or environmental factors alter brain development and thereby contribute to the cause of serotonergic psychiatric disorders. These new insights have the potential to reveal novel targets for future therapies, as well as the developmental windows in which such interventions would be most effective. This multi-disciplinary project brings together researchers from leading European universities and institutes to create a network with world-leading expertise in serotonin research and training. Together, these partners will train fifteen talented PhD-students to lead research in serotonin, neural development and psychiatry in the years ahead.
Information about recruitment via this link.
Coordinator: Dr. Judith Homberg, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Funding scheme: Horizon2020
Duration: 4 years
Prevention and Remediation of Insulin Multimorbidity in Europe
PRIME addresses insulin-related signaling. Dysfunctional insulin signaling is a key modulator of mental and non-mental chronic diseases. However, until now scientific studies have overlooked these insulin-related “co-occurring diseases”. PRIME aims to generate innovative diagnostic and treatment strategies to improve the monitoring and clinical outcomes of patients. In addition, it aims to identify and specify the molecular mechanisms underlying insulin multimorbidities.
Dysregulation of insulin signalling has been implicated in multimorbidity across the lifespan. It affects somatic diseases including type-2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity, and Romano Ward Syndrome (a heart condition characterised by a long QT interval). New research shows that altered insulin signalling also affects brain-based diseases. This includes neurodegenerative brain disorders (dementia and Alzheimer’s disease) and compulsivity-linked neurodevelopmental disorders (obsessive-compulsive disorder and autism spectrum disorders). Diseases characterised by dysregulation of insulin signaling (i.e. insulinopathies) present major health, societal, and economic burden. These insulin-associated diseases are mostly chronic, and with limited or absent curative treatments.
The somatic diseases linked to altered insulin signalling are currently known to affect over 20% of the population and are associated with over 1.2 trillion US$ in global healthcare costs annually. To date, the recognition and clinical management of insulin comorbidity remain poorly established. Brain-based comorbidity is generally neglected, and medical efforts are only devoted to the management of the primary, somatic diagnosis. In PRIME, they posit that insulin-related disease has widespread effects on other, comorbid somatic and mental diseases throughout an individual’s lifetime. Thus, the identification of insulin-related comorbidity early in life (as in obsessive-compulsive disorder and autism) may have important implications for monitoring and treatment decisions both early and later in life.
The overall aims of PRIME are to:
- Identify and specify the molecular mechanisms underlying the insulin co-occurring diseases.
- Investigate the diseases that cause the highest-burden and costs to patients and society.
- Outline new directions for research and clinical care.
Download the PRIME infographic
Coordinator: Prof. Dr. Barbara Franke, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Funding scheme: Horizon2020
Duration: 5 years
Autism Innovative Medicine Studies-2-Trials
Around 5.5 million people in Europe have autism, which affects the way that they communicate and experience the world. Approximately 70% of autistic people also have co-occurring conditions, such as anxiety, depression or epilepsy, which affect their wellbeing. It has been difficult to develop treatments for autism and these co-occurring conditions because autism is extremely diverse, varying between people and across different stages of life.
AIMS-2-TRIALS (Autism Innovative Medicine Studies-2-Trials) is a research programme that will explore the biology of autism to tailor treatments and develop new medicines. The research programme includes a range of studies carried out by different groups. These will examine how autism develops, from before birth to adulthood, and how this varies in different people. They will look for biological markers which indicate whether a person has or may develop particular characteristics. These markers could help to identify who may ultimately benefit from particular treatments. They will also test medicines to help with social difficulties, repetitive behaviours and sensory processing. To accelerate medicine development, the consortium will build a network of connected people across Europe and beyond. AIMS-2-TRIALS will put Europe at the forefront of autism research.
Download the AIMS-2-TRIALS infographic
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Funding scheme: IMI 2; EFPIA; SFARI; Autistica; Autism Speaks
Duration: 7 years
c4c (conect4children) is a landmark pan-European network that aims to facilitate the development of new drugs and other therapies for the entire paediatric population. It is a pioneering opportunity to build capacity for the implementation of multinational paediatric clinical trials whilst ensuring the needs of babies, children, young people and their families are met.
c4c is a novel collaboration between the academic and the private sectors, which includes 35 academic and 10 industry partners from 20 European countries, more than 50 third parties, and around 500 affiliated partners. c4c endeavours to provide a sustainable, integrated platform for the efficient and swift delivery of high-quality clinical trials in children and young people across all conditions and phases of the drug development process. c4c strives to bring innovative processes to clinical development by generating a new model of organisation. By emphasising inclusiveness and collaboration across geographical, specialty, sectoral, cultural and societal backgrounds, it will set up a infrastructure to support the evaluation of medicines in children. In this manner, it will become a benchmark in the currently fragmented European clinical research environment. Best practices and up-to-date expert advice will inform the c4c approaches and methods, which will subsequently be refined in the context of viability trials.
Download the c4c infographic
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Funding scheme: IMI 2; EFPIA
Duration: 6 years
Previous EU projects
View here completed EU projects.