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Kick-off meeting @TU/e for H2020-EU FET Proactive CONNECT project

Tuesday, 29 January

We are pleased to announce that CONNECT has had its kick-off meeting on January 24th, 2019. Partners in this exciting EU funded project include hDMT Brain-on-Chip theme leader prof. Steven Kushner and co-worker dr. Femke de Vrij from Erasmus MC.

Under the leadership of dr. Regina Luttge (Eindhoven University of Technology) all project partners got together in winter-painted Eindhoven to prepare for their first deliverables and initiate the collaborative work packages.

For an overview of the project please find below the project's summary and link to the factsheet.

Project summary:

Many neurodegenerative diseases (NDDs) such as Parkinson's are still not curable. Medicines do not work as expected, the care of patients is complex, the affected and their relatives often suffer for many years. To better understand how NDD evolves and works, the University of Luxembourg, University of Sheffield, KU Leuven, Erasmus MC, Aalto University, FFUND and Eindhoven University of Technology have joined forces in an interdisciplinary science project (CONNECT).

Together, we want to model the functioning of our nervous systems in a chip-based in vitro model. The goal is to develop and test an artificial platform to support or discard researchers' hypotheses for disease causing molecules enter the brain by being backwards transported via the peripheral and enteric nervous system. These theses assume that diseases such as Parkinson's are triggered by defective protein compounds in the gut.

The procedure using patient stem cells with our approach can help to improve predictions about the onset of NDD and thus develop effective drugs. The procedure is a way to reduce the development costs and time required to introduce new drugs. The current preclinical models are of limited use, and the transmission of results from animal experiments to the human system often fail. The novel CONNECT model of a human nervous system on a chip is the first step on a long road to finding more effective personalized treatment concepts for people with Parkinson's or any other NDD.

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