A consortium of 18 partners embarks on the development of a lab-on-a-chip to detect Alzheimer´s disease and similar diseases in the brain. The project is funded by the EU´s 7th Framework programme for nanotechnology.
The project will, over a five years period, develop a miniaturised detection system to be used by the medical practitioner for routine screening whether the patient, at a later stage, is likely to develop a neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer´s disease or Parkinson´s disease. Miniaturized systems offer a lot of advantages over big laboratories as they allow more sensitive tests to be done with much smaller samples, thus making it possible to perform more frequent and more widespread screenings.
18 very different partners
18 partners are needed, because many technical specialities will be merged in the development of the system. The system is complex and will mainly be based on know-how within cell biology, micro- and nanotechnology and biochemistry. Among the partners are the French Marie Curie Institute, the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, as well as four small technology-based companies to participate in the development and later commercially exploit the results.
Facts for Europe
In the EU, more than 7 million people are currently diagnosed with dementia, mostly Alzheimer´s disease, resulting in a total annual cost of app. 160 billion EURO (Alzheimer Europe) for the health care systems. With the ageing European population these numbers are expected to growing significantly.
In charge of the project is DTU Nanotech, a department at the Technical University of Denmark with great experience designing, farbicrating and working with lab-on-a-chip systems. The coordinator is Professor Jörg Peter Kutter, who is a specialist in microfluidics. Microfuidics is the underlying technology used to transport very small amounts of liquid sample material (such as blood) through the lab-on-a-chip devices.
Professor Jörg Peter Kutter says about the project:
“Such large projects are needed in order to really move the state-of-the-art in a scientific area. I am thankful for the EU contribution, which makes it possible to gather together Europe´s leading experts to concentrate on a very challenging task. Hopefully, the diagnostic devices developed in this project will quickly make their way into the hospitals and doctor’s offices around Europe.”
Danmarks Tekniske Universitet, DTU Nanotech, Denmark
Université Paris-Sud XI, France
Univerzita Pardubice, Czech Rep.
Ustav Makromolekularni Chemie, Czech Rep.
Institut Curie, France
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, France
Universität Ulm, Germany
Universitätsklinikum Essen, Germany
DiagnoSwiss SA, Switzerland
Fluigent SA, France
Moravian-Biotechnology, Czech Rep.
Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan, Sweden
Itä-Suomen Yliopisto, Finland
Instituto di Chimica del Riconoscimento Moleculare, Italy
Institut Catalá de Nanotecnologia, Spain
Association pour la Recherche et le Développement, France
Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Paris, France
Rambøll AS, Denmark
SOURCE Technical University of Denmark