Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

H2020

EUROLEISH-NET Report Summary

Project ID: 642609
Funded under: H2020-EU.1.3.1.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - EUROLEISH-NET (Control of leishmaniasis, from bench to bedside and community)

Reporting period: 2015-01-01 to 2016-12-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The aim of this Marie Sklodowska-Curie – Innovative Training Network (ITN) project entitled “Control of leishmaniasis, from bench to bedside and community” (EUROLEISH.NET) is to train the next generation of scientists who will contribute to the control of leishmaniasis. Leishmaniasis is a Neglected Infectious Disease (NID) claiming thousands of lives each year worldwide. Not only is it a major public health issue it is also a concern among veterinarians in Europe. Public and private research centres of excellence in Europe and abroad have joined forces to develop innovative tools for the control of leishmaniasis. The multidisciplinary training programme combines basic and translational research to provide integrated solutions for the improvement of diagnosis, treatment and prevention of leishmaniasis worldwide.
The aim of EuroLeish.net’s research programme is to develop new tools and strategies that will contribute to the leishmaniasis control efforts worldwide. The research objectives for this training programme have been defined based on research priorities and to maximize the interaction and complementarities among research groups in the network.
• Objective 1: To develop and evaluate new tools to diagnose and treat leishmaniasis
Leishmaniasis, as any other NID, suffers from a chronic deficit of effective and safe drugs and efficient point-of-care diagnostic tools. Designing more efficient methods to diagnose and treat leishmaniasis cases is a major research priority.
• Objective 2: To develop and evaluate new tools to prevent leishmaniasis
The control of leishmaniasis is hampered by the lack of preventive tools. Designing new vaccines and vector control methods will help reducing the number of leishmaniasis cases in humans and animals.
The research programme is based on a series of fifteen individual projects conducted by early-stage researchers (ESR) hosted in nine research institutions, both academic and non-academic, in Europe. Twenty three institutions in Europe and abroad contribute to the different projects and provide training to the fellows.
EUROLEISH.NET is also designed to ensure (1) the Interdisciplinarity by promoting the exchange of skills and experiences between fellow and research groups working on different disciplines (e.g. immunology and molecular biology or health economics and epidemiology) and (2) the Multidisciplinarity by enhancing the use of different methodologies, approaches and resources to achieve the network objectives. Thus the project includes compulsory secondments abroad (to promote mobility) and to non-academic partners.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

15 Early-Stage Researchers (ESR) from diverse backgrounds (molecular biology, veterinary medicine, health economy, ect) were recruited in 2015. The 15 fellows joined their respective institution, enrolled a PhD program and started their research project.
Eight fellows are working on the development of new tools or strategies to diagnose or treat leishmaniasis and seven on new preventive measures including innovative vaccines and vector control tools. The 15 research projects are listed below:
1.1 Models of chronicity, sequestration, treatment response and recrudescence
1.2 Estimation of the risk of developing resistance to antileishmanial drugs
1.3 Novel models for the development of treatments for Cutaneous Leishmaniasis
1.4 Strategies for improving differential diagnosis and providing biomarkers
1.5 Diagnostic mimotopes for antibody detection in visceral leishmaniasis
1.6 Economic evaluation of Public-Private Partnerships for the development of drugs and diagnostic tools for leishmaniasis and other neglected tropical diseases and private business impact
1.7 Access to leishmaniasis treatment in Africa
1.8 A Leishmania knowledge center to support health care professionals and patients
2.1 Development of a multi-epitope peptide vaccine against human leishmaniases IRD SYNPROSIS, IPT Cellular and molecular immunologist,
2.2 Development of a recombinant vaccine against canine leishmaniasis. From differential gene expression to the field
2.3 Attractive toxic sugar baits for indoor use: The design and evaluation of a novel approach for controlling sand fly vectors of leishmaniasis
2.4 Systemic insecticides in dogs to control zoonotic visceral leishmaniasis
2.5 New methods to identify Leishmania super-spreaders in modelling targeted control
2.6 Development of new Sand fly exposure markers to evaluate vector control tools
2.7 Evaluation of canine leishmaniasis vaccine under field conditions in Spain
In the last 18 months the fellows have received training in different areas both related to their individual projects as well transdisciplinary skills such as scientific writing and communication, ethics. The fellows have also had the opportunity to interact with their peers and senior researchers in academic and non-academic institutions.
As part of the network, two meetings (Barcelona in October 2015 and London in November 2016) have been organized. Those meetings have been used to coordinate the research and training activities among fellows and institutions.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The EUROLEISH.NET is training a cohort of junior scientists who will lead the global research efforts to control leishmaniasis and other infectious diseases in the future. European centres of excellence, both academic and non-academic, involved in the network provide a stimulating training environment and as such consolidate and nurture years of international exchange and cooperation between them, working in the spirit of a European research area. The scientific work being carried out in the 15 individual projects will significantly contribute to control leishmaniasis in Europe and alleviate the burden of this disease on the world's poorest and most vulnerable. The research and training programmes implemented in EUROLEISH.NET are having a direct impact on the (1) researchers’ career, (2) the institutions involved in the network and (3) on leishmaniasis control.
In the last 18 months the EUROLEISH.NET fellows have progressed in their research projects. They have participated in a number of events and have presented their first results in 36 presentations, including 3 oral and 10 poster presentations in international scientific congresses. Furthermore the fellows have already disseminated their activities and results in written publications: blogs, magazines, newspapers and scientific journals. Three papers have been published and three are currently under review in relevant scientific journals.
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