The CHANGE (Cellular Homeostasis And aGeing in Connective TissuE Disease) project involves academic and commercial bodies from across the EU as a response to Europe’s ageing society, with the number of EU citizens aged 65 years or older projected to reach almost 130 million by 2050, close to 30% of total population.
Longevity due to advances in public health and medical technologies poses challenges in the form of chronic age-related diseases that affect multiple organs and compromise independent living.
The CHANGE project, focusing on cartilage, bone, muscle, and vasculature disorders, aims to understand the molecular pathways that represent a premature signature of common late-onset ageing diseases. By combining high-resolution imaging, multi-omics approaches, and innovative functional assays, the project will use deep phenotyping of in vitro and in vivo models to identify age-related changes in signaling and gene expression.
The goal is to develop prognostic and/or diagnostic biomarkers and therapeutic approaches that could lead to new drug targets and development of innovative therapies for age-related diseases, such as osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, cerebral small vessel disease, and brain hemorrhages.
Evercyte will join other consortium partners in targeting cellular senescence as a treatment strategy for connective tissue disorders, employing its diverse portfolio of extracellular vesicles (EVs) derived from mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) as a therapeutic candidate to interrogate their efficacy in alleviating the negative effects of accumulated senescent cells across different connective tissue disorders.
Senescent cell expertise
Senescent cells are known to accumulate at sites of age-associated diseases e.g. osteoarthritis and osteoporosis, and their selective removal with senolytic drugs in pre-clinical mouse models has been shown to improve a range of age-associated diseases. In recent years, the role of EVs, known mediators of cellular communication carrying RNAs, proteins and lipids, has been studied in the context of senescence.
Their involvement in modulating the senescence phenotype in senescent cells has been confirmed by different studies, suggesting that MSC-EVs might be novel drug candidates in connective tissue disorders.
Evercyte is the only Austrian participant in CHANGE, which also involves a mix of academic and commercial bodies from Italy, France, Germany, and The Netherlands.
The project is also conceived as a Horizon 2030 Training Network, offering 12 Doctoral study placements. Evercyte’s doctoral candidate, Alessia Brancolini, will have her work supervised by co-founders, Assoc.Prof. Dr. Johannes and Regina Grillari, who are respectively the company’s principal scientific advisor and COO/CSO.
About Evercyte GmbH
Evercyte is the leading provider of immortalized human primary-like cells (‘telomerized cells’) as well as novel cell lines for production of extracellular vesicles and is the partner of choice for innovative cell-based assays in the field of pharma, biotech, or cosmetic industries.
The core technology used for the establishment of these highly relevant human cell lines relies on the reactivation of the human telomerase enzyme. Besides customer-tailored cell line development as a one-stop shop, Evercyte is steadily expanding its catalogue of readily available cell lines for the production of extracellular vesicles from mesenchymal stromal cells using different tissues including adipose tissue, bone marrow, placenta, amnion or dental pulp.
By providing native extracellular vesicles from mesenchymal stromal cells Evercyte will make a significant contribution to the development of new therapeutic approaches. Additionally, Evercyte will promote its platform technology for the generation of recombinant EVs e.g. tissue targeting and targeted drug delivery.
Founded in 2011, the Vienna-based company successfully pioneered the development of tools and know-how necessary for the establishment of standardized high-throughput in vitro bioassays as well as relevant cell models and cell factories.
Learn more at: http://www.evercyte.com.
CHANGE is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions funded Horizon Europe training network, uniting 5 European universities: Italy’s Universities of Padova and Pavia, France’s Institut IMAGINE and Ecole Nationale Superieure de Lyon, and the Goethe University in Germany. It also involves three small to medium sized enterprise (SME) commercial partners: LifeTec Group from The Netherlands, Medetia Pharmaceuticals in France and Vienna-based Evercyte and 7 associated partners with the aim to uncover molecular mechanisms in connective tissue ageing and disease.
The project involves seven Work Packages (WPs) that together address the basic biology of ageing with an innovative approach investigating early ageing cell and tissue signatures using in vitro and in vivo models of connective tissue diseases. Aspects for investigation include Monogenic and common disorders of cartilage (WP1), bone (WP2) muscle and vasculature system (WP3), addressing pathways known to be “pillars of ageing”. Further packages will address innovative drug development (WP4), joint training activities in the biology of ageing (WP5), and results communication and dissemination (WP6), all coordinated by integrated project management (WP7).
Learn more at: https://www.change-msca.eu
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