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FP7

BASTION Résumé de rapport

Project ID: 316254
Financé au titre de: FP7-REGPOT
Pays: Poland

Final Report Summary - BASTION (From Basic to Translational Research in Oncology)

Executive Summary:
BASTION was a multidisciplinary collaborative project designed to build at MUW the capacity in cancer research to translate promising therapeutic concepts from bench to bedside by developing and testing new tools, technologies and devices. The project involved collaboration of groups that have so far mostly worked independently, but were strongly motivated to establish a cross-faculty Centre of Competence in Basic and Translational Oncology that will work closely with the existing university hospital departments and a new cancer centre planned at MUW as well as the other research organisations on the so-called Ochota Research Campus in Warsaw. In this project the transfer of knowledge and technologies from first class European Partnering Organisations greatly accelerated the development and release of full research potential of all MUW research groups working in the area of cancer. An intense and sustained effort was dedicated to increase the research potential at both basic and translational levels with a focus on personalised oncology and developing novel patient-oriented therapeutic approaches. BASTION has great potential to contribute to European excellence in this area. Partnering with leading research and innovation organisations in Europe and developing an effective intellectual property and innovation management strategy is leading to improved screening, diagnostics, and treatment of cancer not only in Poland but across Europe.

BASTION brought together several groups of top researchers from academic and clinical centers all over Europe as well as SMEs working at the interface of science and industry, to create a critical mass and pool complementary expertise in basic and translational oncology. The cooperation and scientific exchange involved 10 research groups from MUW (representing approx. 100 researchers) and 13 partnering organizations from 8 EU countries (Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands, Ireland, France, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom). The activities of BASTION unlocked the potential and provided intermediate and long-term benefits for MUW’s researchers and principal investigators, and also stimulated networking and collaborative innovation among partnering institutions and their researchers. The project synergized the collaborative efforts made by all those involved and facilitated integration of research capabilities in order to increase coherence and critical mass in development of cancer diagnostics and therapeutics.

Project Context and Objectives:
The BASTION (From BASic to Translational research In ONcology) project was envisioned to allow Medical University of Warsaw (MUW) to become a leading research and clinical oncology center in Central Europe. Based on core ensemble of internationally recognized research groups and lead scientists BASTION aimed to strengthen MUW’s research potential in basic and translational oncology.
General objectives of the BASTION project for the reporting period were:
- better integration in European Research Area,
- improvement in the quality of research,
- increased contribution to sustainable regional development,
- building the capacity of improved success rate in application for European research cooperation programs.

BASTION aimed to overcome existing shortcomings by strengthening research potential of the Medical University of Warsaw (MUW) in basic and translational oncology. This goal could be achieved by execution of seven specific project operating objectives:
• increasing scientific dialogue between MUW, European academic research centers and innovation driven SMEs via secondments of scientific and innovation management staff to transfer knowledge, new research methodologies and techniques, discussions on research progress, share experimental data, work on joint research proposals, publish in top scientific journals; initiating and consolidating cooperation between 9 MUW research teams and 11 partnering organizations from leading European research labs and 2 innovation driven SMEs via secondments;
• facilitating the exchange of scientific ideas, share research results and engage in new collaborations, as well as to increase the impact of translational studies in oncology by knowledge sharing and implementing targeted dissemination actions involving all relevant stakeholders at the regional, national and European levels by organizing thematic workshop; supporting attendance at international conferences and training workshops; engaging key stakeholders and decision makers in BASTION from the very beginning of the project; educating the public on the benefits of translational research for public health; fostering exchange of scientific ideas and know-how by organizing 5 workshops focused on molecular oncology and one international conference;
• build human potential by recruiting 12 researchers with international experience in basic and clinical oncology (one new research group leader and 11 post-docs) with particular emphasis on scientists and professionals returning from abroad, as well as two IT professionals with background in bioinformatics to accelerate the establishment of an independent bioinformatics research group; establishing a bioinformatics group focused on personalized medicine and recruiting 12 experienced researchers, 2 IT specialists and 3 professional managers;
• build the capacity of MUW’s research base in molecular oncology and translational studies by purchasing state-of-the art 7 modern research equipment items;
• facilitating and increasing the impact of translational studies in oncology by: hiring a professional innovation manager, implementing efficient IP protection and innovation management schemes, organizing joint events with Science Business as well as the research / academic partners to transfer best-practice in science – industry cooperation and promote innovation driven translational research; creating a pro-innovative environment supporting exploitation and dissemination of BASTION research to raise awareness of basic and translational oncology;
• improving, updating and professionalizing project management processes at MUW by hiring an experienced project manager, at the same time assuring smooth and efficient execution of the project and timely delivery of all envisioned project results.
BASTION was also envisioned to become a top quality experimental oncology platform incorporating novel research techniques to improve the understanding of carcinogenesis and tumor progression leading to development of new therapeutic and diagnostic tools. This was achieved through broad and active networking with top research centers in Europe.

In order to achieve the main goal of the Project, which was to strengthen the potential of the Medical University of Warsaw to participate actively in international research in basic oncology, six interrelated Work Packages (WP) had been planned, each consisting of several tasks. The proposed activities to be carried out by the MUW over three years (with an additional 6 month evaluation phase – WP7) were a logical strategic plan to position the MUW as a leading center in basic and translational oncology.
The whole Project duration was divided in 3 reporting periods:
1st September, 2012 – 28th February, 2014;
1st March, 2014 – 31st August, 2015 and
1st September, 2015 – 29th February, 2016.

Work Package 1 (Twinning through Secondments) facilitated scientific exchange with eleven (originally twelve) outstanding research groups at leading research organizations in Europe and one technology transfer oriented organisation.:
- KUL Belgium (Prof. Patrizia Agostinis),
- University College Dublin, Ireland (Prof. William Gallagher),
- Universite de la Mediterranee, Marseille, France (Prof. Daniel Olive),
- University Hospital of Ulm, Germany (Prof. Lars Bullinger),
- Radboud University Medical Center Nijmegen, the Netherlands (Prof. Jack Schalken),
- Saarland University, Germany (Prof. Friedrich A. Grässer)
- University of Ferrara, Italy (Dr. Stefano Volinia),
- Leeds Institute for Molecular Medicine, University of Leeds, UK (Dr. Sean Lawler),
- Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden (Prof. Monica Nister),
- University of Cologne, Germany (Prof. Herbert Pfister),
- University of Verona, Italy (Dr. Gaetano Vattemi),
- Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin, Ireland (Dr. Bryan Hennessy),
- Science|Business, Brussels, Belgium; (Ms. Marylin Fiaschi, Richard L. Hudson)
WP1 assured transfer of know-how in research methods. Outcome of this work package involved joint publications and research grants applications.

Within WP2 (Know-how and experience sharing) five workshops on:
- cancer genetics,
- application of flow cytometry in molecular oncology,
- techniques in analysis of cancer vasculature,
- genome-wide methods in cancer genetics,
- molecular diagnostics in cancer
and one international conference TRON were organized.
Workshops and conferences addressed topics relevant to the research conducted at the MUW.

Financial support was provided to 38 the MUW’s employees to facilitate their participation in international conferences and workshops.
Promotional Activities and Dissemination of Knowledge greatly helped to increase the awareness and appreciation of the significance of scientific results and discoveries generated by the MUW’s researchers among various stakeholder groups (decision makers, funding agencies, students at high school and university levels and the general public).

Preparation of a Policy Paper with guidelines and recommendations for Ministry of Health, the National Health Fund and healthcare providers (hospitals and clinics) in the final stage of the project realization was planned in the initial scope of the BASTION project. It results from the crippling statistics which show that the death rate from cancer in Poland is still one of the highest in EU. The planned goal of the document was to propose a set of actions to improve cancer prevention in order to reduce premature mortality from cancer and raise awareness in general public of the necessity of translational research.

WP3 (Building capacity by attracting and retaining top-level scientists) - BASTION project has fully used its opportunity to recruit a leader of the bioinformatics group and 11 postdoctoral top-level qualified researchers with high ability to increase research potential in basic and translational oncology at MUW. Moreover two IT specialist have been employed to facilitate development and use of bioinformatics tools. The three professional managers employed within the BASTION included a project manager, an innovation manager and PR specialists (part-time) to improve and professionalize project management, facilitate and increase the impact of translational studies in oncology to promote innovation-driven translational research as well as to develop tools and disseminate results of the BASTION, respectively. The recruitment process for the Project was carried out and completed by the end of 2013, i.e. in the BASTION first reporting period. The second reporting period was a period of active involvement of the newly recruited researchers in the MUW research and other activities. All activities were supervised and evaluated by research team leaders.

WP4 (Acquisition of modern research equipment) involved the purchase of research equipment to fill a significant gap in the research armamentarium of BASTION teams, including 6 items of modern research equipment and bioinformatics infrastructure and support for personalized medicine studies. Purchase of the new equipment (WP4) has been completed during the first reporting period. To provide appropriate conditions for scientist to perform their research and enable them to fully use all the equipment purchased within the BASTION project, the authorities of the University decided to renovate and expand laboratory areas.

WP5 (Innovation capacities building) involved implementing efficient IP protection and innovation management schemes, and organizing joint events with commercial and academic partners to transfer best-practice in science-industry cooperation and to promote innovation-driven translational research.
All BASTION team members became familiar with the rules governing IP rights due to a set of training sessions provided by Innovation Manager (IM) and 2 Pharma Days organized by IM. To enhance the exploitation of results training sessions were organized in the evaluation of patent applications/patents granted, necessary for further commercialization. Altogether, 5 patent procedures were supported from the resources of BASTION.

Work Package 6 (Project Management) facilitated efficient and effective execution of all other project activities and provided guidance for the University to sustain project results and build on its positive impact to fulfil its long-term mission.

The University achievements in the BASTION Project have recently been evaluated by a team of independent experts in WP7 (Expert evaluation) after the completion of all other activities.

Ten leading research groups at the MUW were involved in BASTION. The project was managed by the Steering Committee with help of the Support Group in accordance with its internal rules and regulations, compliant and consistent with EC guidelines for FP7 projects.

A dedicated project International Advisory Board (IAB) was formed in order to ensure high impact and sustainability of the Project results and to strengthen its European components. The following internationally renowned scientists and representatives of other stakeholder groups accepted the invitation and constituted the BASTION IAB:

1. Prof. William Gallagher, University College of Dublin, Ireland,
2. Prof. Lars Bullinger, University Hospital of Ulm, Germany,
3. Prof. Gaetano Vattemi, University of Verona, Italy,
4. Prof. Prof. Friedrich Grässer, University Hospital of Saarland, Germany
5. Prof. Stefano Volinia, Ferrara University, Italy,
6. Dr. Natalia Landazuri, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden,
7. Ms. Marylin Fiaschi, Science|Business, Brussels, Belgium,
8. Prof. Cezary Szczylik, Military Institute of Medicine in Warsaw, Poland,
9. Prof. Przemyslaw Juszczynski, Institute of Hematology, Warsaw, Poland,
10. Prof. Krzysztof Giannopoulos, Medical University of Lublin, Poland
11. Dr. Marek Orlowski, ORENORE, Poland,
12. Dr. Marcin Szumowski/ Dr. Pawel Nowicki, BTM Mazowsze Ltd. Cluster, Warsaw, Poland

Throughout the Project lifetime an impressive number of the MUWs’ employees were at least to some extent involved in the BASTION activities, either working directly in the project and receiving remuneration (45 members of staff; of which 30 were women), participating in the events organized within the Project (more than 680 people) or receiving Project financial support to attend international conferences or trainings (38 researchers).

6 Milestones and 39 Deliverables were to be achieved in the Project. All they were achieved in time, or with minor delays.
Total estimated staff effort for the Project was 590 person-months. Actual staff effort was recorded at 590,5 person-months.

Project Results:
BASTION project has been successfully realized for 42 months. A large number of activities that were carried out throughout the project have unequivocally led to strengthening the scientific potential of the Medical University of Warsaw.

During the lifetime of the BASTION Project all of its objectives and technical goals were achieved.

Work Package 1 - Twinning through secondments
WP1 included exchange of know-how and best practice through twinning between MUW researchers and laboratories from partnering organizations. A major goal of those bilateral visits was to bring together a highly skilled and complementary assembly of European researchers from academic and clinical centers and researchers from MUW participating in BASTION.
Leaders have successfully coordinated the twinning activities between collaborating laboratories from Partnering Universities. The main topics and special interests related to the research issues were defined before the trainings themselves. Young and experienced researchers from among the employees of MUW were selected to participate in the twinning with Partnering Laboratories and they disseminated the knowledge to the entire team afterwards by means of dedicated seminars and practical sessions.

Transferring and implementing the best research standards, new research methods and techniques from the EU institutions collaborating with the Medical University of Warsaw in 2014-2015 was executed via:

a) 12 incoming visits of the foreign Partners’ representatives to the MUW (21 months in total),
b) 52 outgoing missions of the MUW staff (13 of young scientists and 39 of experienced researchers) to the foreign laboratories (57,7 months in total).
Some incoming visits were rescheduled for shorter time or changed for short outgoing missions. Such changes allowed us to intensify twinning in the last 6 months of the project duration and to successfully implement all visits.

Detailed description of the activity within WP1 is presented in the Deliverables D1.1 and D1.2. - report on the secondments between twinning partners - and can be seen on BASTION project web site: http://bastion.wum.edu.pl/en/raporty/.

The reports on research activities and photographic documentation of the visits are available on the BASTION project web site:
http://bastion.wum.edu.pl/en/raporty-z-projektow-twinningowych/

All visits have resulted in practical training in new technologies and established new collaborations and new research projects undertaken.

Not only each researcher was given practical training in new technologies provided either locally or via visits to partnering laboratories, but also in many situations, there were unexpected benefits of such efforts such as new collaborations and new research projects undertaken as a result of this collaborations. In summary, research work of the majority of groups complemented one another, and this synergy should be even more enhanced by further exchange of know-how between the institutions in the future.
Execution of Work Package 1 during second 36 months of BASTION project was a great opportunity for researchers from MUW to gain know-how from partnering Institutions and was a unique chance to bring together experts from various disciplines willing to share their expertise and resources. In many situations execution of twinning visits allowed to finish several projects and publish the results in respected journals even before the end of the BASTION project.
Secondments executed during BASTION project resulted in publication of 12 experimental and 2 review papers in peer-reviewed international scientific journals. Moreover, 4 manuscripts are in preparation and 1 is submitted. All publications are listed in the Deliverable D1.3 which can be seen at: http://bastion.wum.edu.pl/en/raporty/.

Twinning visits enabled researchers from MUW and partnering institutions to widen the scope of their scientific projects, beyond what was available within their own institution and to combine the available technologies which should also result in several publications in the near future.

To conclude, the research work of the majority of groups complemented one another. This synergy should be even more enhanced by further exchange of know-how between BASTION and partnering institutions and will definitely result in further scientific achievements. It must be emphasized that BASTION project covered only the costs of visits. The research activities were covered by own funds of each of the partnering institutions.

In summary, WP1 execution allowed increased scientific dialogue between partnering academic institutions and MUW and gave excellent training opportunity for the recruited staff, both at MUW and at the partnering organizations, which already resulted in several publications in respected scientific journals.

WP2 - Know-how and experience sharing
The goals of organization of conference and workshops within the frame of WP2 were to promote the exchange of ideas and the results of scientific work between researchers of the Medical University of Warsaw and their colleagues form Europe and beyond.
Workshops were addressed especially to Polish researchers, giving them an opportunity to acquire the knowledge of the state of the art techniques in molecular and experimental oncology. An added value of the organized conference and workshops was the attendance of researchers from the countries of Middle and Eastern Europe, thus giving them the exceptional opportunity to meet the first-class specialists in the field and build new relations with Polish scientists.
Events increased knowledge sharing, networking and improved MUW international visibility through dissemination & promotional activities.
In the frame of BASTION five workshops and one international conference were organized.
Within BASTION attendance at international conferences and training workshops of young and experienced researchers of MUW were supported.
At these international conferences BASTION activities have been promoted by MUW’s attendees.
BASTION team was very active in dissemination of project results to raise public awareness and provide policy makers with information allowing them to make evidence - based decisions.
A number of initiatives were developed to disseminate the health and medical knowledge to the professionals and the general public, including: establishing cooperation with the crucial patient advocacy groups, gaining official patronage form the Ministries, establishing cooperation with media and gain their support, development of promotional materials, lunching of the BASTION web site.

Task 2.1: Organization of Workshops
1..Cancer Genetics for Medical Community (workshop coordinator: Prof. K. Jazdzewski) – the workshop took place on the 17th of June 2013 and is described in the deliverable D2.1,
2..Techniques in Analysis of Cancer Vascular Biology (workshop coordinator: Prof. Z. Gaciong), (deliverable D2.2);
3..Application of Flow Cytometry in Molecular Oncology (workshop coordinator: Dr. M. Winiarska); (D2.2);
4..Genome-Wide Methods in Cancer Genetics (workshop coordinator: Prof. Rafal Ploski), (D2.2);
5..Molecular Diagnostics in Cancer (workshop coordinators: Prof. Z Gaciong & Dr. P. Religa from Karolinska Institutet), (D2.2).
The workshops were organized under the auspices of the Minister of Science and Higher Education of Poland.

Task 2.2: Organization of the international conference
An international two-days conference “Translational Research in Oncology in New Member State Economies – TRON” was organized by the Department of Immunology, Medical University of Warsaw, as a part of the BASTION project
The two-day international conference “Translational Research in Oncology in New Member State Economies – TRON” was dedicated to outlining a way forward promoting translational cancer research in new member state economies and health systems. The program of the conference was designed on one side to provide an overview of general principles of cancer biology and treatment, epidemiology, mechanisms of resistance, metastasis, use of preclinical models, and identification of novel molecular targets. On the other side, the second day of the conference involved health economists, policy makers, people from pharma industry and grant agencies who addressed issues on how to best stimulate translational research from the health economics and public health perspective.
The impact of the conference was to transfer best practice approaches in translational medicine to MUW and to influence health policy aimed at closing the gap in cancer prevention and treatment between the EU-15 and the new member states of CEE.
The honorary patronage over the conference was held by: Ministry of Science and Higher Education, President of Warsaw and Governor of Mazovia district.
Detailed description of the TRON conference is described in the deliverable D2.3.

Task 2.3: Participation in international conferences and short term training events
Within the frame of Work Package 2, financial support was provided to c.a. 32 the MUW’s employees to facilitate their participation in international conferences and workshops (52 trips). This provided a great opportunity for the Medical University of Warsaw employees to get in touch with most advanced and newest achievements in bio-oncology, to present and discuss their data and to establish new research contacts.
Conferences held in Europe were the most desired destinations of the employees of the BASTION team. However, 17 of 52 trips were outside Europe, what has been stated in the Grant Agreement. Some conferences were attended by more than one person form the MUW.
Mobility trainings and the increased knowledge were also related to the participation of MUWS’s scientists in training courses, international conferences and workshops, where they delivered oral and poster presentations, followed the modern trends in science and promoted the BASTION project as well as the scientific potential of the University.
Detailed description of the activity within Task 2.3 is presented in the Deliverables D2.4 and D2.5 - report on the participation in international conferences and workshops can be seen on BASTION project web site: http://bastion.wum.edu.pl/en/raporty-z-wyjazdow-na-konferencje/.

Task 2.4 Promotion of BASTION activities internationally
Participation in:
`- the conference EUPRIO 2014 conference (4-7 September, 2014)
`- the Life Sciences Baltics conference in Vilnius, Lithuania (10-12 September, 2014)
`- the Eastern Economic Congress in Bialystok (18-19 September, 2014)
gave MUW’s participants possibility to promoted the BASTION at international conferences and events to increase awareness of quality and merit of research activities carried out by BASTION research groups and their partnering organisations among the research community, pharmaceutical and biotech industries and international policy makers. That increased the chances for active participation in initiatives relevant to the industry and improved prevention, diagnostics and treatment of cancer.

Task 2.5 Raising general public awareness on the benefits of translational research for public health.
Dissemination of results and promotion of the whole BASTION project was one of the main goals of Work Package No 2. The idea of all promotional actions was to advertise the project among researchers, physicians and patients, exchange experience during scientific events and above all, pass on the message of the BASTION project about the importance of the translational research to the general public. There were numerous actions undertaken, including off-line (workshops, conferences, interviews, meetings) and on-line activities (webpages, social media, videos) and lots of promotional materials were prepared and distributed. The details of the dissemination and advertisement of BASTION project are presented in deliverable D2.6 and D2.7. and about raising general public awareness activities in the deliverables D2.8 and D2.9
The following goals were achieved within BASTION WP2:
` - The design of the project "image" in terms of the logo and the associated colors to be used on the entire project outputs (2012)
`- Creation and maintenance of the BASTION websites (2012 and 2013),
The first Polish / English BASTION website was created and published on MUWS server November 29, 2012 (www.bastion.wum.edu.pl ).
The second, professional Polish / English BASTION website was created and published on July 26, 2013 (http://bastion.wum.edu.pl/en ).
The site presented important information about the project, its scope and implementation. It served as hub for offering information to general public and other stakeholders. The content of the site were updated periodically. Information about the events, seminars, workshops, lectures, conferences and training sessions were continuously posted on the website. The recruitment process within BASTION WP1 as well as other announcements concerning available positions related to the Project scope were run using an interactive module of the website. The BASTION webpage was (and still is) accessible to the scientists of the MUW, the Ochota Campus and to the Internet users from all over the world.
Production and presentation of the BASTION promotional products
The following promotional products were produced for BASTION:
i) 8 roll-ups in Polish and English
ii) informational posters in Polish and English
iii) Polish / English project flyers
iv) promotional products with the Project and/or the MUW’s logo (e.g. pens; notebooks-pads; tea infusers, hangers for bags; badge holders bags; a cotton bag with the BASTION logo; A5 notebook with lined paper; small, sugar-free mints in a round box with a BASTION logo; herbs to grow type “The Easy Planting”; pepper mill in the shape of the light bulb; round button-like badges; Power Bank; USB/micro USB; a slim, white pen with a soft end to work on touch screens of smart phones and tablets etc.).

In M1-42 the Project promotional products were distributed during all the events supported by the Project and organized in or by BASTION research groups. In consideration of the huge interest in promotional products they were gradually re-ordered and distributed.
2014/2015/2016 calendar with the project logo was also financed by BASTION.

One of the first objectives in the WP2 was to establish key media relations which would allow to inform general public about the BASTION project. The main focus was to present strategic project goals to media and then to build long-term relations with them. A number of activities aimed at raising awareness on the BASTION project and the BASTION related goals were undertaken. Below one can find BASTION communication goals:
• to increase BASTION recognition by building expert position of the BASTION researchers in the media,
• to organize BASTION events and invite media for the events,
• to tell the success story of each research project,
• to participate in the events organized by a third party and to promote the BASTION project and its goals during the events,
• to actively support events organized by a third party (without financial involvement) by giving lectures on topics related to BASTION area of interest,
• to tell the success story of Polish scientists who have managed to obtain significant funding in the oncology area.
In the course of the project, the BASTION project team leaders and members gave interviews on reputable and nationwide radio and TV channels.
On 25th April 2014, Prof. Rafal Ploski, one of the team leaders in BASTION project, gave an interview on TVN television, in a well-known for Poles program entitled “Dzien dobry TVN” [“Good morning TVN” in EN]. The conversation was devoted to diseases of genetic origin, which is the key issue of study of the team led by professor Ploski in BASTION.
On 23rd August 2014, station “Polskie Radio Jedynka” [“Radio Channel One” in EN] broadcasted the programme recorded in the Department of Immunology at MUW. The interview, conducted by well-known journalist Artur Wolski, was focused on the study of tumor stem cells. Dr. Tomasz Stoklosa, the BASTION team leader, explained briefly the process of cell mutations to the listeners.
On 25th of October 2014, the “Polskie Radio Jedynka” broadcasted the interview with professor Golab, the BASTION project t leader, on the photodynamic therapy for cancer. Dr. Anna Wójcicka, the member of Prof. Krystian Jazdzewski team, was the guest of the programme “Naukowy Zawrot Glowy” [“Scientific Vertigo” in EN”] broadcasted on 21st July 2015, in which she told about her research concentrating on cancer diagnostic tests and designing a system for predicting mortality risk from thyroid cancer and colorectal cancer.
The radio station TOK FM broadcasts the programme entitled the “Radio Academy of Sciences” devoted to up-to-date issues vital for the Polish science. Within the framework of the programme, the station held a series of talks with BASTION project members. On 21st May 2015, the Innovation Manager, Dr. Karolina Dzwonek, was interviewed by journalist Karolina Glowadzka about the commercialization and promotion of the Polish science. On the 23rd of July, Dr Radoslaw Zagozdzon in the interview with TOK FM Radio introduced the listeners to the issue of cancer immunotherapy. The key project issues were presented by Dr. Tomasz Stoklosa on 27th of August 2015. The last interview on the TOK FM radio has been scheduled for October. In the programme the “Radio Academy of Science" Dr. Magdalena Winiarska will talk about her research and summarize the activities carried out within the BASTION project.
On the 27th of July 2015 one of the biggest (average edition amounts to 292 thousand copies), nationwide, daily newspapers “Gazeta Wyborcza” published an interview with BASTION project member, Dr. Magdalena Krol and Prof. Przemyslaw Juszczynski. The aim of the article was to raise public awareness on the cancer prevention, building good, lifelong habits in the society and to the necessity of regular, medical examination in order to overcome the problem of low detection rate of cancer diseases in Poland.
In September 2015, the monthly, popular magazine “Zdrowie” [“Health” in EN] published an article “Medicine my Love” about the research conducted by Magdalena Banach-Orlowska, the member of Dr. Pawel Wlodarski’s team in BASTION project. The aim of the article was to promote the researchers’ ethos and introduce the goals of the BASTION project to the general public. Ms Banach-Orlowska explained in the article, that the BASTION project aim is, among others, to shorten the distance between science, investors and medical treatment, so that the results of scientific discoveries can be introduced to the clinics as soon as possible in the form of new drugs or diagnostic tests. She also mentioned young researchers who have the possibility, within the BASTION project, to work with authorities in the field and gain valuable experience.
On the 24th of May 2014, seventh consecutive year, the Medical University of Warsaw invited Warsaw residents for a ”Meeting with Medicine”. On the New Town Market Square in Warsaw, over 100 units of the University organized 63 thematic exhibition stands. The event was attended by nearly 1,300 university employees and students. The event was an ideal opportunity to obtain information within the scope of, among others: oncology, transplantology, nephrology, urology, geriatrics, infectious diseases, orthopedics, rehabilitation, dermatology, dietetics, obstetrics, emergency medical services, endocrinology, gastroenterology, pharmacy and health promotion. Visitors could, among others, make basic dental check-up, examine skin moles, perform spirometry tests, ECG, CTG, pregnancy ultrasound or carotid ultrasound, undergo first aid training on manikins, try the technique of surgical stitching or use a laparoscope. The measurement of blood pressure, of cholesterol and sugar level, as well as hearing tests and bone density tests, offered in mobile clinics, enjoyed huge popularity.
The BASTION project on its stand offered tests on a modern device called "Avatar". It is an interactive computer system, which is able to instantly assess the risk of cardiovascular disease. The device, which weighs over 130 kilograms, has dimensions: 1m x 1m x 2m, was compared by visitors to an ATM. The tent, in which Avatar was located, was additionally darkened in order to get better readings from the device.
Two nurses were in turns operating Avatar and doing tests for those interested. When the reading was done, they could take advice from a physician present on the spot. The BASTION stand was visited by the Rector of the Medical University of Warsaw, Prof. Marek Krawczyk.
On August 7th,2014 the fourth of the Oncology Training Program for Journalists (OTPJ) was organized by the Polish Oncology Society, Dr. Maciej Hilgier Foundation and Health Project Management. This edition was run by leading Polish experts in the oncology field from the main research centers in Poland (Prof. Jacek Jassem, Prof. Pawel Krawczyk, Prof. Piotr Wysocki, Prof. Wieslaw Tarnowski, Prof. Wieslaw W. Jedrzejczak, Prof. Wlodzimierz Olszewski, Prof. Romuald Krajewski). The OTPJ was also attended by the government representatives, lawyers specialized in the medical area, representatives of the medical community and patient advocacy groups. During those three days leading Polish researchers in the oncology area had the opportunity to share their knowledge with over fifty leading journalists from national radio and television, dailies, magazines and internet services specialized in medical journalism.
This year's edition of the Oncology Training Program for Journalists was organized for the second time in collaboration with the BASTION project. The opening honorary speech “Cancer stem cells - forever young and almost immortal?” was given by the Dr. Tomasz Stoklosa, the leader of one research group in the BASTION project.
The event was a superb opportunity to increase BASTION media visibility. It was also an excellent chance to network with key stakeholders from the medical area in Poland and to build BASTION brand and expertise in the oncology area among Polish journalists.

Special video materials
To increase the impact of translational studies in oncology, there have been developed a set of educational video materials available for those who would like to know more about personalized medicine, latest research in oncology, biomarkers and latest trends in genetics research. All materials are free and available on-line on the BASTION site and on the YouTube channel.

Social media
When the BASTION web site was developed an important feature of the site was its full integration with social media. All the materials, articles, news, reports displayed on the BASTION web site are integrated with social media. When a user finds an interesting material, she/he can easily share it with others, just by clicking one of the links attached to the material (hosing Twitter, Google+ or Facebook, YouTube).

Task 2.6 Preparation of Guidelines and Policy Recommendation for engagement of translational research in stimulating secondary prevention and new methods of cancer diagnostics and treatment
Preparation of a Policy Paper with guidelines and recommendations for Ministry of Health, the National Health Fund and health providers (hospitals and clinics) in the final stage of the project realization was planned in the initial scope of the BASTION project. It results from the crippling statistics which show that the death rate from cancer in Poland is still one of the highest in EU. The planned goal of the document was to propose a set of actions to improve cancer prevention in order to reduce premature mortality from cancer and raise awareness in general public of the necessity of translational research.
The document written by Prof. Krystian Jazdzewski, one of the BASTION team leaders, and Dr. Anna Wojcicka, the experienced researcher from Prof. Jazdzewski team, proposes a new policy on the prevention of cancer. It votes for universal accessibility to diagnostic cancer tests, enabling the realization of personalized prevention for each patient. Personalized prevention is closely linked to the individual, well-defined risk of developing a particular tumor in each patient. The document presents guidelines for currently conducted in Poland programs related to oncology, the analysis of the potential savings from the introduction of genetic diagnostics for oncology, and presents the results of the social studies on the awareness of Polish society regarding the prevention of cancer and genetic research, which were ordered for the purposes of the document. In the last part of the paper the authors propose a scheme of social campaign aimed at informing the public about the need for appropriate prevention trials. The deliverable D.10 contains the full text of the Policy Paper.

Work Package 3 - Building capacity by attracting and retaining top-level scientists

The main goal of WP3 was to build human potential by recruiting 12 researchers with international experience in basic and clinical oncology:
- one new research group leader
- eleven researchers at post-doctoral level
- two IT professionals to accelerate set-up of independent research group with a background in informatics.

WP3 was divided in to three tasks
Task 3.1 Recruitment of 9 experienced scientists
Task 3.2 Recruitment of a new group leader
Task 3.3 Recruitment of 2 experienced scientists and two IT professionals

BASTION project has fully used its opportunity to recruit a leader of the bioinformatics group and twelve postdoctoral top-level qualified researchers with high ability to increase research potential in basic and translational oncology at MUW. Since two postdocs had to quit, we managed to hire for replacement two another highly qualified researchers. Moreover two IT specialist have been employed to facilitate development and use of bioinformatics tools. The three professional managers employed within the BASTION include a project manager, an innovation manager and PR specialists (part-time) to improve and professionalize project management, facilitate and increase the impact of translational studies in oncology to promote innovation-driven translational research as well as to develop tools and disseminate results of the BASTION, respectively. The recruitment process for the Project was carried out and completed by the end of 2013, i.e. in the BASTION first reporting period. The second reporting period was a period of active involvement of the newly recruited researchers in the MUW research and other activities. All activities were supervised and evaluated by research team leaders.

The technological expertise and scientific background of all eleven recruits fit BASTION effort to strengthen the existing areas of excellence in oncology research. Moreover, each individual used the opportunity to bring in know-how and experience in translational oncology work and helped to bridge the gaps and create links among research groups working at MUW. All leaders have succeeded in recruiting extremely diligent and hardworking postdocs showing a great enthusiasm for their work in the field of experimental oncology. All newly employed researchers contributed to the great success of BASTION project.

In summary, postdocs recruited to ten research groups in BASTION project are authors and co-authors of 32 publications, they managed to secure funding for their research and get 9 grants (7 grants as Principal Investigators, 2 as supervisors), they were awarded with 7 different awards and are authors of 4 patent applications).
All details about recruitment procedures of the postdocs and about theirs research activity can be seen in the deliverables D3.1 and D3.2.

Working space:
All recruited researchers were provided with research and office space by leaders of research groups already existing at MUW. Since four research groups in BASTION project were located at the Department of Immunology the option to increase the research and office space was necessary and inevitable. We managed to redesign and renovate one room to provide new researchers with sufficient working space. One research team, during BASTION project, moved to a new laboratory located in a newly built CePT (Centre for Preclinical Research and Technology) building.

Research funding:
BASTION project did not directly provide research support for newly employed post docs. All recruited researchers were eligible for applying for national funding from National Science Centre (NCN), The National Centre for Research and Development (NCBiR), The Foundation for Polish Science (FNP) and Ministry of Science and Higher Education. All researchers made attempts to get funds for their research and prolong their employment.

Status of recruited researchers:
Number of faculty positions at Medical University of Warsaw is regulated by a quota of teaching hours (pensum). Thus, according to the recruitment policy of Medical University of Warsaw recruited researchers were employed at the university as the experienced research specialists. They were entitled to all benefits of governmental employees.
-For three researchers it was not possible to extend employment at MUW after completion of the BASTION project.
-Three postdocs have managed to secure funding for research and their salaries as principal investigators.
-Two researchers, due to shortage of money, with the finalization of BASTION project end their cooperation with team leaders. However, they declare their interest in BASTION projects and willingness to cooperate with BASTION leaders.
-Team leaders support the employment of three other researchers

The BASTION project has been envisioned to allow Medical University of Warsaw (MUW) to become a leading research and clinical oncology center in Central Europe. One of the objectives realized in WP3 has been to organize a separate bioinformatics unit, which will support genomic analyses planned within the proposed project as well as an independent research activity aimed at development of novel bioinformatics tools and approaches to next generation sequencing (NGS). The research of the new group leader was about to be focused on personalized approaches in oncology via utilizing the bioinformatics approach (DNA and protein sequence, microarray, and biological pathways analysis).

As planned in WP3, BASTION project has recruited a highly qualified lab leader of bioinformatics unit with the ability to increase research potential in basic and translational oncology at Medical University of Warsaw. Newly employed lab leader has brought technological expertise which currently allows MUW to engage into new research directions through collaborative efforts. During the course of the BASTION project, the initial approach has further expanded via utilizing the external funds from the National Science Center (NCN), which led to creating a digital imaging facility (please see below for further information).

By completing a successful recruitment process and hiring of a New Group Leader, we achieved Milestone 1 of the BASTION project and established a new research group at MUW. In the course of the BASTION project, the new group leader has significantly contributed to the design and the set-up of a modern bioinformatics infrastructure including equipment and specialized software to undertake new ambitious studies. Such set-up included a computing cluster for large data sets, three multi-core workstations, adequate back-up storage and database management software and specialized software for data analysis and visualization. Additionally, the newly hired group leader has successfully supervised the creation of and utilized a new digital image analysis facility at MUW. The research efforts of New Group Leader have so far resulted in authorships or co-authorships of seven original (out of which six were already published) and two review publications, two book chapters, one patent application and several meeting reports. Following the ending of WP3, the new group leader continues his employment with Medical University of Warsaw under the funding secured from the national agencies.
All details about recruitment procedures of the bioinformatics group leader and about his research activity can be seen in the deliverables D3.3 and D3.4.

By completion of a successful recruitment process and hiring two Postdocs and two IT Professionals we achieved Milestone 1 of BASTION project and established a new bioinformatics research group at MUW. For the duration of the BASTION project, the team has provided a broad support for the activities of other BASTION members, as well as the BioInfo researchers that have been carrying out their own studies. The team has constantly been developing thanks to the funding support under the BASTION project as well as the funds from external sources. In the light of exceptional productivity of the group, the decision of further extending the employment under the BASTION project has been made for three team members. Indeed, the bioinformatics team has been highly productive: apart from the establishing a state-of-art computational infrastructure, their research efforts have so far resulted in authorships or co-authorships of numerous original and review publications, book chapters, one patent application and a number of meeting reports.
A state-of-art bioinformatics unit has been envisioned within the BASTION project in order to provide support for Medical University of Warsaw (MUW) to become a leading research and clinical oncology center in Central Europe. To this end, one of the activities under WP3 carried out by the newly recruited leader of the bioinformatics group, was to recruit top-level scientists with international experience in data mining and analysis. He achieved this task by recruiting four new members of his team, listed below according to the chronology of recruitment:
Working space:
The newly employed lab leader and his group have been provided with one office room and access to research space in the Department of Immunology. Additionally, separate two rooms have been designated for the location of a computing cluster and a digital histology slide scanner.

All details about recruitment procedures of the BioInfo researchers and about theirs scientific activity can be seen in the deliverables D3.5 and D3.6.
Report on publications and research/professional activities of all recruited researchers can be seen in the deliverable D3.7.
A detailed list of the employed researchers is provided in Attachment 1.

External Grants obtained by PostDocs and hired staff:
1..The role of microRNAs in regulation of genes coding for iodine transporters (NIS, AIT and Pendrin) in papillary thyroid carcinoma. National Science Centre, (2013-2016) (A. Wojcicka PI),
1. The use of microRNA inhibitors for restoration of the expression of tumor suppressor, gene SLC5A8, and establishing of the possibility of using them in the treatment of papillary thyroid carcinoma, National Science Centre, (2015-2018) (W. Gierlikowski, M.-PhD student, A. Wojcicka - supervisor),
2. Pro-oxidative strategies in the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia. National Science Centre (2016-2019) (M Firczuk PI),
3. Influence of AKT signaling pathway on CD20 expression and antitumor activity of therapeutic monoclonal antibodies. National Science Centre (2014-2017) (B. Pyrzynska PI),
4. Elucidation of the role of tumor-derived and exosomal arginases in avoiding immune responses by ovarian cancer. National Science Centre (2014-2016) M.Czystowska-Kuzmicz PI),
5. Red cell heterogeneity as a risk factor for thrombotic complications. National Science Centre (2015-2018) (Zbigniew Gaciong -supervisor, M. Lazarczyk post-doc, H. Kosowska PhD student),
6. The role of autophagy in tumor cells’ response to the photodynamic therapy. Ministry of Science and Higher Education (2014-2016) (A. Domagala M.D. student, M. Firczuk supervisor),
7. Search for target proteins for the new compounds with antitumor activity. Ministry of Science and Higher Education (2012-2015) (M. Firczuk PI),
8. The influence of the EGF-SubA fusion protein on the photodynamic efficacy in a murine model. Ministry of Science and Higher Education (2012-2014) (M. Firczuk PI),
9. Evaluation of the possibility of using microRNA inhibitors as adjuvant therapy for thyroid cancer. Ministry of Science and Higher Education Anna (2015-2017) (A. Wojcicka PI),
10. The use of next-generation sequencing for elucidation of a sensitive and specific molecular panel for diagnostics of thyroid cancers. NCBiR (2014-2017) (A. Wojcicka),
11. Two-foton miscroscopy in medicine („Gdzie jeden nie moze, tam drugiego poslij – wykorzystanie zjawiska absorpcji dwufotonowej w biologii i medycynie”. Foundation of Polish Science (INTER SKILLS project), 2013-2014 (E. Glodkowska-Mrowka Ph.D. student PI),
12. Implementation of a molecular prognostic panel for thyroid cancer Foundation of Polish Science. (IMPULS) (2015-2017) (A. Wojcicka PI),
13. Twinning – “Strategies towards Excellence in Immuno-Oncology – STREAM”, signed GA no 692180 within H2020 (2016-2018) (B. Pyrzynska WP-leader, R. Zagozdzon WP-leader, Jakub Golab Project Coordinator, I. Drozdowska-Rusinowicz –Project Manager).
14. Evaluation of peroxiredoxins 1 and 2 along with the thioredoxin-thioredoxin reductase system as new therapeutic targets in B cell lymphomas. National Science Center (2013-2016) ( R. Zagozdzon –PI),
15. The role of thioredoxin/thioredoxin reductase and peroxiredoxins in multiple myeloma. Ministry of Science and Higher Education (2013-2015) (R. Zagozdzon Co-investigator),
16. The role for thiol-dependent antioxidant enzymes in estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer. National Science Center (2015-2018) ( R. Zagozdzon PI),
17. Mechanisms regulating estrogen S-nitrosylation in breast cancer, Medical University of Warsaw - Young Researcher Grant (2014) (M. Bajor PI)

Work Package 4 - Acquisition of modern research equipment

WP4 involved the purchase of research equipment to fill a significant gap in the research armamentarium of BASTION teams, including several items of modern research equipment, bioinformatics infrastructure and support for personalized medicine studies. Purchase of the new equipment has been completed during the first reporting period. To provide appropriate conditions for scientist to perform their research and enable them to fully use all the equipment purchased within the BASTION project, the authorities of the University decided to rebuilt and extend laboratories areas.

The purchased modern equipment consists of:
- Fluidigm Access Array 2AX + FC1 System,
- Beckman Coulter ultracentrifuge Optima L100XPN,
- Miltenyi Biotec gentleMACS Dissociator,
- Hielscher Ultrasonics UP200ht handheld ultrasonic homogenizer,
- GE Healthcare preparative chromatography system AKTA avant 25,
- Andreas Hettich laboratory centrifuge ROTINA 420R,
- Perkin Elmer Janus Integrator automated workstation,
- Perkin Elmer Delfia platewash,
- Perkin Elmer multilabel microplate reader EnVision 2104,
- Roche MagNA Pure 96 System,
- Roche LightCycler 96 System,
- Roche LightCycler 480 II System,
- Eppendorf Centrifuge 5430R,
- PALM Laser Microdissector,
- Life Technologies Ion Proton System,

The purchased equipment has been and will by extensively used in all other WPs and form the basis for collaborative initiatives of the BASTION research teams. It is important to emphasize the complementarity of the purchased equipment. The automated nucleic acid extractor together with laser microdissection platform provide the means of acquisition of DNA/RNA, i.e. substances which are the main carriers of information in each cell and therefore represent subject of analyses in virtually every field of biological research. The machines complement each other as the former one can be used for majority of macroscopic samples whereas the latter is dedicated for extractions at the microscopic scale (even from single cells). The Fluidigm platform together with the DNA sequencer provide the means to carry out sophisticated analyses of DNA/RNA isolated with the first two machines. In particular the Fluidigm platform allows to efficiently prepare middle scale libraries from isolated nucleic acids whereas the DNA sequencer complements the previously acquired low throughput machine (Junior) allowing to sequence those libraries. The results obtained with the nucleic acid sequencing techniques can be next verified on the protein level with the use of the protein purification work station. The ability to express and obtain highly purified recombinant proteins creates the unique opportunity to study the detailed function and interactions of previously determined gene products. Moreover, acquisition of the pipetting biorobot and multispectral plate reader allows for further evaluation of the target gene(s) function in numerous cell-based in vitro assays implementing e.g. absorbance, luminescence, fluorescence and/or singlet oxygen transfer measurements. Thus, the abovementioned pieces of equipment allow to carry out a streamlined comprehensive pipeline of experiments consisting of purifying, analyzing nucleic acids and verify the role of their protein products in vitro which is expected to useful both within BASTION and by external researchers.
Detailed description of the activities within the equipment purchase work package is provided in the Deliverable D4.1.

The network infrastructure for the new computing cluster has been designed in a way allowing for its efficient integration with already existing massive computing power offered by the nearby facilities of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Mathematical and Computational Modelling.

Components of the IT infrastructure:
An exemplary solution of an IT infrastructure that the created system was based upon, consists of a computing cluster, four workstations and a computer network.
The hardware part of the system forms a foundation for executing software to deal with actual bioinformatics challenges. Each of the aforementioned elements is discussed below.

The purchased cluster includes:
1- computing cluster mass storage subsystem, including back-up solution with major elements of: one Dell PowerVault NX3610 NAS appliance (with two controllers) complemented with two Dell PowerVault MD3660i iSCSI arrays (with two controllers each): two Dell PowerConnect 8132 LAN switches and two Dell PowerEdge R720 servers,
2- rack infrastructure, including one Dell 42U rack cabinet and two Dell UPS 2700W uninterruptible power supplies,
3- computing servers with six Dell PowerEdge R620 servers, each with four Intel DC S3700 200GB solid state drives and one Dell PowerConnect 2816 LAN switch;
4- server room infrastructure.

We have successfully purchased and installed a modern IT infrastructure that will support our studies in the field of experimental oncology. This universal computing and storage platform will enable us to undertake ambitious studies in the area of bioinformatics, which is rapidly becoming ever more important for the medical sciences.
Having at our disposal the infrastructure, in conjunction with our expertise in data mining and analysis, algorithm development and software integration, empowers us to provide high quality custom bioinformatics support to MUW's researchers. Moreover, by providing extensive and quickly accessible mass storage space, the created platform will be used by many researchers directly on a daily basis, making storing and moving the experimental data much more convenient.
A more detailed description of the activities within the IT infrastructure purchase is provided in the Deliverable D4.2 - “Report on creation of IT infrastructure for supporting personalized medicine approaches in oncology”.

Work Package 5 - Innovation capacities building
WP5 involved implementing efficient IP protection and innovation management schemes, and organizing joint events with commercial and academic partners to transfer best-practice in science-industry cooperation and promote innovation driven translational research.
All BASTION team members are familiar with the rules governing IP rights due to a set of training sessions provided by Innovation Manager and 2 Pharma Days organized by IM. To enhance the exploitation of results training sessions were organized in the evaluation of patent applications/patents granted, necessary for further commercialization. 5 patent procedures were supported from the resources of BASTION.
To facilitate technology transfer and increase the impact of translational studies in oncology by:
- hiring and integration into BASTION-related innovation activities of a professional innovation manager;
- implementing efficient IP protection and innovation management schemes in collaboration with MUW authorities

Task 5.1 Recruitment and hiring of innovation manager
Innovation capacities building had been led by the recruited Innovation Manager (IM) (see Deliverable D5.1 - report on recruitment).
According to the concept and project objectives Innovation Manager’s main goal was to stimulate the translational process from molecular oncology research to the clinic.

Task 5.2 Transfer of know-how and Networking through a series of networking and workshop events
Regular contacts with scientists showed that there is a need for raising awareness on IP issues, therefore IM prepared several seminars for BASTION research groups and other MUW researchers and PhD students on IP rights protection and commercialization of the research results.
IM has prepared special trainings for BASTION groups (April 15, 2013) and for Department of Immunology (May 6, 2013) on IP rights protection and commercialization.
IM has ran two workshops for MUW PhD students and researchers on IP rights protection and commercialization of the research results (“Nauka w parze z biznesem” Science to business) on October 24th, 2013 and November 7th 2013.
IM provided ongoing support for MUW scientists that need advice in the subject.
In order to build closer cooperation between MUW and Cancer Center IM ran similar training for the researchers of Maria Skłodowska-Curie Institute of Oncology and Institute of Hematology and Transfusion on October 9, 2013.

IM has ran several preliminary patent searches on the inventions discovered by the BASTION researchers. She has started a close cooperation with patent attorneys and with Polish Patent Office. As a result of this activity five patent applications were filed and several patent searches have been run.

Within WP5 task IM organized two series of four-days business model generation workshops for scientists of MUW and other research institutes from Ochota Campus. The thematic range of the workshops consisted of introducing a scientific idea of research into a business-oriented concept which can be then implemented into reality. With attendance of highly professional scientists working on their actual research projects the workshops were based on several four-person groups working each on one project that had applicable potential. Participants were creating business models for a real project based on “learning by doing” method. The idea was to mix researchers from different scientific areas together within each group and giving them a unique view over their projects and thus ensuring a variety of competences. The first workshop took place on November 26 and then on 3rd,10th and 17th December 2014 with the participation of 23 scientists.
During each eight-hour meeting participants were gaining business knowledge and improving business skills associated with developing business models, building strategy for a start-up company, preparing business analysis, training team building and pitching. During the time between the meetings participants were also asked to search for additional information, establish first relationships with key partners or opinion makers and collide their conceptions by interviewing experts in order to maximize the reality of the project teaser.
The second edition of such set of four-day workshops has been realized in March 2015
As a follow-up of the two workshops a networking meeting was organized in July 2015. The environments of science and business were brought together to discuss their common perspectives and search for fields of possible cooperation.

In collaboration with Science|Business an International Workshop on best practice in technology transfer, innovation management, spin-off creation and translational research in oncology brought to the bedside has been organized. The workshop BASTION Roundtable FROM LAB TO CLINIC took place on June 4, 2013, in the European Parliament (EP) in Brussels.
The event aimed at experience exchange between MUW and KU Leuven (KUL) by presentation of case studies concerning commercialization of oncological research and roundtable discussion of experts. The workshop was dedicated to MUW and KUL scientists and technology transfer professionals. There were 8 participants from MUW taking part in this event, including BASTION Project Coordinator Prof. Jakub Golab and MUW deputy Rector for Science and International Relations Prof. Sławomir Majewski. Among speakers there were EP members and the director of EFPIA, providing an important input in the discussion. The honorary patron of the initiative was Prof. Jerzy Buzek, former President and now a member of the EP

IM had been working at Science|Business office from June 24th until July 20th 2013. She was engaged in all activities of the company at the time of her stay, including networking, organizing events, data analysis and marketing. During her stay IM took the opportunity and started collaboration with Leuven Research & Development (LRD) - one of the leading university technology transfer units in Europe.

IM visited LRD facility in Leuven, and consulted Mr Olivier Lescroart, intellectual property specialist at LRD, about insights into technology transfer process at university.

From the beginning of her work in the project IM has been building close relationship with BTM Mazovia, specialized in tech transfer, IP valuation and licensing. BTM provides support and expertise for advanced projects with the potential for implementation.
One of the common activities of IM and BTM, aiming at knowledge sharing and experience exchange, was organizing a debate of all technology transfer professionals from Ochota Campus, including BTM Mazovia professionals.
The meeting resulted in forming an informal group of tech transfer specialists and creating a common mailing list (ochota-na-transfer@googlegroups.com) to facilitate contact between members.

The networking efforts resulted in common projects of MUW and the biotech companies developing innovative drugs. Within these activities IM supported:
- 3 Sponsored Research Agreements for MUW (2 with OncoArendi Therapeutics, 1 with TriMen Chemicals),
- 2 projects on drug discovery granted by National Center for Research and Development in 2014 Strategmed and 2015 “Fast Track” calls (each for the amount of over 5 mln Euro); both projects engaged OncoArendi Therapeutics, the Startegmed grant also included NanoVelos company,
- Preparation of 2 grant proposals for 2015 Strategmed call at National Center for Research and Development one with Selvita and second with Evestra biopharmaceutical company.

One of the assignments within Task 5.2 was the organization of “Pharma open days” in collaboration with Science|Business. The event took place in Warsaw 25th of April 2014.


Pharma Day has made best practice in science - industry cooperation to facilitate innovation-driven translational research. It has been a focused meeting, by invitation only, to ensure free exchange of ideas and fruitful discussions. The event gathered researchers with an outstanding scientific experience in experimental and clinical oncology and biopharmaceutical companies from all around the world to make one step forward towards real translational research. Top level scientists in the field of molecular oncology presented their results in light of potential new therapies or diagnostic tools. Polish and international biopharmaceutical companies developing innovative anti-cancer therapies shared their needs and expectations concerning science-business cooperation. Pharma Day event created stimulating ambience for networking and building good relations.

The second edition of Pharma Day got a lot of interest due to great appreciation of the first edition participants. We managed to attract representatives of Big Pharma, including keynote speaker dr. Bruce Conway who gave a presentation about drug discovery project he led at Johnson&Johnson that ended up with introducing new drug to the market. There were also representatives of Astra Zeneca, GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer who actively participated in the discussions on the role of academic researchers, small to midsize biotech and big pharma in translational drug discovery process in oncology. The participants also debated on how to make industry - science collaboration in early stage drug discovery programs more productive.
Both Pharma Days were very successful – they gathered extraordinary people committed to develop excellence in science and to turn it into life application. The aim of such activity was to move forward to clinical practice and to help patients. Not only excellent speeches and great discussions, but what is most important – new contacts hopefully will evolve into new projects in drug discovery.

For the networking reasons and for acquisition of higher skills IM actively participated in several events and workshops concerning IP protection, IP evaluation and science-business cooperation:
- XVIII National Conference on patent information for science and industry, organized by Polish Patent Office (Warsaw, May 13-14th 2013)
- 17th ECCO - 38th ESMO - 32nd ESTRO European Cancer Congress (Amsterdam, Sep 27th – Oct 1st 2013)
- Practical Dimension of Science (Warsaw, Oct 15-16th 2013) organized by Mazovian Innovation Network
- "University - Business Cooperation - Driving Innovation and Growth" (Warsaw, Nov 27th 2013) organized by European Commission in partnership with the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education
- Training on Intellectual Property Valuation organized by World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and Polish Patent Office (Wroclaw, Nov 13-15th 2013)
- 9th Annual TTS Europe with ENTENTE Health Final Conference (Barcelona, April 28-29, 2015)
- Intellectual Property Management & Open Innovation in Health/Life Science (Braga, Portugal, June 22, 2015)
Reports on transfer of know-how and Networking tasks are presented in D5.2, D5.3 and D5.5
Task 5.3 Implementation of efficient IP protection and innovation management schemes

Extending her activities in the university IM got involved in implementing new management schemes concerning technology transfer at MUW. There has been designated a special working group, by the university Chancellor and deputy Rector for Science and International Relations, in September 2013.
The goal of the group was to evaluate the strategy for technology transfer at the university. IM has made preliminary analysis of the MUW innovation potential pointing out the key steps that should be undertaken at the university to make technology transfer possible. She pointed that there are no established, clear procedures at MUW supporting innovation and technology transfer. The processes are complicated and there are no clear guidelines for researchers who made a discovery. There is no motivation system for scientists that would encourage them to run applied studies and apply for translational research grants. There is no innovation management and no innovation understanding whatsoever. In the report on MUW innovation potential, IM identified the following key steps that should be considered in the first place:
1. Entrusting the overall technology transfer management to one particular person who would be well recognized among researchers, competent and with excellent communication skills;
2. Creating of database of all projects, patent applications, licenses and contracts with industry and assigning the task of database management and maintenance to one particular and committed person;
3. A shift from a procedure-oriented approach to a result-oriented one. Of key importance would be the adjustment of all regulations to the expectations of technology transfer process stakeholders (the scientists, inventors, entrepreneurs and industry) to maximize the chances of reaching the main, tangible objectives;
4. Providing researchers with simple templates for Invention disclosures, CDAs, MTAs, contracts with industry, etc.;
5. Creating a “user friendly” environment for researchers with clear rules and simplified procedures;
6. Building trust internally within the organization (in particular between the administration departments and the researchers);
7. Stimulating translational research through a proactive approach and providing support in planning, preparation and execution of applied / translational projects;
8. Implementing a motivation system for researchers with affinity for technology transfer that would support their attempts to run translational studies (plan research and apply for funding) and recognize their accomplishments;
9. Monitoring and support for running projects with regular results evaluation by the person responsible for tech transfer

MUW portfolio of patents and patent applications is very modest for now and for this reason it is hard to draw wide and long term strategy for commercialization. Due to an early stage of IP management and (still) low awareness in that field and also not much interest in commercialization among researchers it would be important to put some effort in creating an entrepreneurial spirit. It is also extremely important to stimulate translational research through a proactive approach and providing support in planning, preparation and execution of applied / translational projects. Very helpful could be implementation of a motivation system for researchers with affinity for technology transfer that would support their attempts and recognize their accomplishments in the following areas: collaboration and contracts with industry, invention disclosures, patent filings, granted patents, commercialized patents, etc. The motivation system should have both financial and career promoting elements.
Report on implemented IP protection and management strategy guidelines at MUW is presented in D5.4
and final report on achieved innovation capacity and IP protection using TTO metrics – in D5.6.

Work Package 6 - Project Management

The management structure of the project was based on the Project Steering Committee (Project Coordinator + Project Manager + Project Support Team + Work Packages Leaders), but working in close cooperation with the International Advisory Board.
Project Steering Committee (PSC) was responsible for the technical and financial coordination and implementation of foreseen activities. The main activities of the PMC members were:

Project Coordinator (PC):
• Leading and supporting scientific and managerial coordination of the whole project

Project Manager (PM)
• Overall day-to-day management of BASTION
• Administering the EC financial contribution regarding its allocation between activities, in accordance with the GA
• Keeping contact with the European Commission on technical and financial issues
• Communicating with external contacts on behalf of the project
• Ensuring quality control of work and deliverables
• Leading the establishment and maintenance of the project websites
• Assisting and supporting work package leaders on managerial issues

Work Package leaders (WPL):
• Coordinating the activities within the work package on a managerial and scientific level
• Overseeing the progress in the respective WPs
• Monitoring and reporting on the progress of the work package and deliverables achieved to the PC.

PM was also responsible to organize project meetings, and the proper framework for communications with the Advisory Board members, External Evaluators.
Each WPL was given by the PM a list of milestones and deliverables to be fulfilled, the corresponding schedule and budget. Consultative meetings were organized by the PC and PM with WPL in order to:
• report on each WP's activities: results obtained, problems occurred, solutions foreseen
• discuss on administrative and financial issues such as: expenditure control, tender /delivery delays, reallocations of resources (human and materials) between activities
• discuss on the following milestones and deliverables, agree on actions and schedule.

During the project, the Coordinator was in close contact with Project Manager. Effective communication channels between different members of the Project Steering Committee, the European Commission were also maintained.

The project website (www.bastion.wum.edu.pl) has been maintained and updated regularly.

Administrative support for tasks of all the Work Packages was provided by the Project Support Team upon request.

International Advisory Board
BASTION's objectives would not be achieved without the involvement of the Partnering Organisations from the leading European Centres that has formed a project International Advisory Board (IAB) to ensure high impact and sustainability of the Project results and to strengthen its European and international components. The International Advisory Board had an advisory capacity and did not supervise the activities of the Project Steering Committee, however the comments and recommendations of the IAB were very seriously considered and in all possible cases implemented by the Steering Committee.
Organizing and coordination of Project Meetings

BASTION Kick-off Meeting M3 November 27 , 2012
1st Meeting of the International Advisory Group (IAB) M3 November 27, 2012
2nd Meeting of the International Advisory Group (IAB) M21 May 22, 2014
3rd Meeting of the International Advisory Group (IAB) M42 February, 2016
1st External Experts Meeting M29 January 29, 2015
2nd External Experts Meeting M40 December 17, 2015
3rd External Experts Meeting M42 February, 2016
1st Steering Committee Meeting M1 September 4, 2012
2nd Steering Committee Meeting M2 October 15, 2012
3rd Steering Committee Meeting M6 February 11, 2013
4th Steering Committee Meeting M8 April 15, 2013
5th Steering Committee Meeting M9 May 20, 2013
6th Steering Committee Meeting M14 October 21, 2013
7th Steering Committee Meeting M15 November 18, 2013
8th Steering Committee Meeting M16 December 16, 2013
9th Steering Committee Meeting M17 January 20, 2014
10th Steering Committee Meeting M20 April 22, 2014
11th Steering Committee Meeting M25 September 22, 2014
12th Steering Committee Meeting M27 November 17, 2014
13th Steering Committee Meeting M29 January 13, 2015
14th Steering Committee Meeting M30 February 10, 2015
15th Steering Committee Meeting M31 March 17, 2015
16th Steering Committee Meeting M34 June 15, 2015
1st Steering Committee &Support Group Meeting M7 March 18, 2013
2nd Steering Committee &Support Group Meeting M9 May 13, 2013
3rd Steering Committee &Support Group Meeting M15 November 25, 2013
4th Steering Committee &Support Group Meeting M20 April 22, 2014
5th Steering Committee &Support Group Meeting M21 May 22, 2014
6th Steering Committee &Support Group Meeting M29 January 29, 2015
BASTION Round Table Meeting M42 February 22, 2016
Sixteenth Project Steering Committee meetings were held during the Project lifetime.
All organizational and administrative issues of the project management were analyzed and discussed in the meetings. Some of the meetings included briefings before other important Project events, such as International Advisory Board meetings or External Experts Meetings.

Within WP6 nine deliverables specific for management tasks has been prepared:
D6.1 Report on organization of Support Team and Steering Committee meetings
D6.2 Report on organization of Support Team and Steering Committee meetings
D6.3 Final Plan for the use and dissemination of foreground
D6.4 Report on Awareness and Wider Societal Implications
D6.5 Reports on management activities I
D6.6 Report on management activities II
D6.7 Preliminary conclusions and recommendations from the IAB
D6.8 Mid-term conclusions and recommendations from the IAB
D6.9 Final conclusions and suggestions for future strategy presented by the IAB

Preparing reports (scientific and financial)

BASTION lifetime (36 months + a 6-month period of evaluation) was originally divided in three reporting periods (M1-18, M19-M36 and M36-M42).
Apart from periodic reporting 39 Deliverables (reports) were to be submitted to the EC and 6 Milestones to be achieved.
In general, reporting fell mainly under the responsibility of the Project Coordinator and Project Manager, but was supported by WP leaders and other participants. Any issue occurred was dealt professionally and solved accordingly.
All the 6 Project Milestones were achieved. All the 39 Deliverables were completed and submitted to the EC, some with minor delays (1 day – 2 weeks).

Work Package 7 Expert Evaluation

Evaluation of project results by three external experts suggested by the EC was the last task. They came three times to MUW to meet with work package leaders and collect information about the project realization and the University (structure, publications, plans for future). After first and second visit they prepared separate reports, which formed the basis for one consolidated report with the indications and recommendations for future actions that would guarantee the sustainable development of the University. The third visit was combined with the final BASTION International Advisory Board meeting.
BASTION evaluation by external experts was planned in order to evaluate the transition and increased potential of MUW to engage in basic and translational research in oncology.
The External Evaluators has been suggested by the European Commission.
In M19 (November 2014) the names of the three experts who accepted the EC invitation to perform the ex-post evaluation of the Project under WP7 were presented to the BASTION Coordinator. The Project Manager and the WP7 Leader contacted the experts and provided them with all the necessary information about the Project. A draft date and agenda of the 1st Project Review Meeting was suggested.
The first 2-day BASTION External Experts Meeting was organized at the premises of the MUW on January 29-30, 2015. The WP7 Leader with the assistance of the Project Manager arranged the details of the meeting. The Agenda included a welcome by BASTION Coordinator, presentations by BASTION WP Leaders, BASTION/MUW site visit and a closed door meeting of the evaluators followed by the closing remarks from the evaluators to the Project Coordinator.

The second External Experts Meeting was held on December 16-17, 2015. The agenda of the meeting included presentations by BASTION WP Leaders, presentations of experienced researchers recruited within WP1, a closed door meeting of the External Evaluation panel, closing remarks from the Evaluators and the Evaluators internal meeting to work on a preliminary version of the Final Evaluation Report.

The Final BASTION Round Table Meeting including the 3rd External Experts and International Advisory Board meetings was held on February 21-22, 2016 (M42). The agenda of the joint event included reports on BASTION activities by the Work Package Leaders and a round table meeting during which a discussion on the results of BASTION was held, and a statement of the BASTION International Advisory Board and a statement of the BASTION External Evaluators were presented. The final item on the agenda was a discussion about the best ways and methods to preserve MUW’s scientific excellence and increase its contribution to the economic and social sustainable development of the region.
In February 2016 the External Experts presented their report from evaluation which constitutes the BASTION Deliverable D7.1 already submitted to the EC.
Report from the outcomes of report presentation to authorities is presented I the deliverable D7.2.

Potential Impact:
The BASTION project has fully used its opportunity to recruit twelve top-level qualified researchers with high ability to increase research potential in basic and translational oncology at Medical University of Warsaw (MUW). The technological expertise and scientific background of all recruits fitted BASTION effort to strengthen the existing areas of excellence in oncology research. Moreover, each individual has brought in know-how and experience in translational oncology work, helped to bridge the gaps and created links among research groups working at MUW. All leaders have succeeded in recruiting extremely diligent and hardworking postdocs showing a great enthusiasm for their work in the field of experimental oncology.

A qualified lab leader of bioinformatics unit has brought technological expertise which allowed MUW to engage into new research directions through collaborative efforts and provided a number of comprehensive and versatile biotechnological approaches to the tasks delineated under the BASTION program.

The purchased research equipment has been extensively used throughout the project and forms the basis for collaborative initiatives of the BASTION research teams for the future. It is important to emphasize the complementarity of the purchased equipment that allows to carry out a streamlined comprehensive pipeline of experiments consisting of purifying, analyzing nucleic acids and verify the role of their protein products in vitro which is expected to useful both within BASTION and by MUW’s researchers.

Public relations specialists have developed on-line and off-line tools to increase the project recognizability, developed promotional activities to facilitate dissemination of information on the research achievements and to increase the awareness of decision makers, stakeholders and general public on the importance of basic research in oncology.

The newly hired project manager has professionalized the project management activities at MUW. She has organized planning and resources controlling procedures to achieve specific goals not only in scientific, but also daily problems. She was motivating and helping the BASTION researchers to overcome administrative obstacles.

The newly hired innovation manager has implemented IP protection and management strategy guidelines at the MUW, organized several types of training sessions aimed at raising awareness on IP issues, organized Pharma Days featuring leading MUW translational projects in oncology, prepared a report on achieved innovation capacity and IP protection using TTO metrics as well as a “guidelines for technology transfer” brochure. The project allowed to build MUW research capacity by transferring key scientific and experimental knowledge between the partnering institutions and MUW. This enabled the MUW to widen the scope of their work, beyond what was available within their own home institutions and merge the available technologies.

Altogether, BASTION researchers have published over 170 articles, submitted 5 patent applications, actively participated in numerous prestigious international conferences with 50 posters or oral presentations.

Moreover, BASTION researchers have acquired 41 new research grants from national and international funding agencies that will expand the research started within BASTION.

Three start-up companies (OncoArendi Therapeutics, Warsaw Genomics and Cellis) have been established that involved BASTION researchers.

A policy paper to raise public awareness on genetic predisposition to cancer has been written and distributed to all major stakeholders and decision makers.

BASTION has organized an International Conference and 5 thematic workshops that allowed training of young researchers and integration with top level international researchers.
Therefore, the project was a huge amplifier of research activities at MUW and its impact will be sustained for many years after its completion. We expect improved healthcare in the region by providing invaluable insight into the working practices of world-class European research laboratories, creating independent, knowledgeable and skilled young scientists ready to add to Europe’s cancer research acumen and to translate their research results into new modern oncology clinics.

List of Websites:
Prof. Jakub Golab
BASTION Project Coordinator
Head of the Immunology Department
Medical University of Warsaw
tel: +48 22 59 91 99
fax: +48 22 59 91 94
e-mail: jakub.golab@wum.edu.pl
http://bastion.wum.edu.pl/en/

Informations connexes

Contact

Iwona Drozdowska-Rusinowicz, (Vice Head of Projects Office)
Tél.: +48 22 57 20 461
Fax: +48 22 599 21 94
E-mail
Numéro d'enregistrement: 184785 / Dernière mise à jour le: 2016-06-27