Published: 2019-01-15 14:29 | Updated: 2019-01-23 09:21

Two Horizon 2020 grants for consortia led by Roman Zubarev

Two Horizon 2020 grants were awarded to consortia that both will be led by Roman Zubarev. The Eurostars-2 Programme grants 1.94 million euro for the development of a novel device to determine the prognosis of Alzheimer's disease patients. Additionally, almost 4 million euro is received from the European Innovation Council to identify novel therapeutic antibodies.

Next generation precision antibody profiling

Funding for the project entitled 'TopSpec - Next generation precision antibody profiling - from science fiction to reality’ was received in a call to explore novel ideas for radically new technologies.

What radically new technology will be studied in this project?

Roman Zubarev, professor at MBB: ''The novel technology to be developed and explored here is the radical-driven, gas-phase dissociation of large biomolecules. The approach, pioneered by Zubarev et al. two decades ago, has been in constant development ever since.''

What are the strengths of this consortium?

''The consortium combines eight teams, of which three are academic (KI, Institut Pasteur and the University of Nottingham), four are small and medium enterprises (Danderyd, Athens, Lausanne, and Amsterdam) and one is a large international company (Thermo, Bremen). The companies provide innovative hardware, including a novel mass spectrometer, which the universities will combine with their software and test, and then apply to real-life biomedical problems.''

What knowledge will you expect to have obtained at the end of this project?

''In the short term, we expect to learn how to fragment large ions in the gas phase using photons, electrons and reactive hydrogen atoms, and how to process the resultant complex mass spectra. In the very end, the hope is to correlate antibody sequences and abundances with specific diseases, facilitating discovery of novel therapeutic antibodies.''

A novel device to determine the prognosis of Alzheimer’s disease

In the other project entitled 'AD Scanner – a Novel Device for Prognosis of Alzheimer’s Disease by Fast and Simple Blood Analysis' a consortium which includes KI and the Free University of Amsterdam, as well as three SMEs - from Stockholm, Holland and UK will focus on Alzheimer's disease diagnostics.

Changes in the blood of Alzheimer's Disease patients predicts mental decline

Researchers within the consortium have recently discovered that the concentration of proteins within the isoelectric point (pI) range of pI=7.35±0.05 is much higher in blood of Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients that will later rapidly lose their mental abilities (“fast decliners”) compared to those who will slowly decline mentally (“slow decliners”). The researchers will develop a so-called ''AD-scanner'' which will be optimized to isolate and measure the protein concentration in that narrow pI range in a fully automated, unattended around-the-clock operation.

The aim is to analyse patient’s blood with an AD Scanner in a fast and inexpensive manner, and to be able to predict with high certainty the rate of mental decline in a given patient. The analysis will be non-destructive, and the analyzed fractionated blood can be collected after passing through the instrument for further analysis.

In this project, the researchers will create the AD Scanner, test it on novel cohorts of AD patients, and commercialize it for both clinics and academia.