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BonePain Report Summary

Project ID: 642720
Funded under: H2020-EU.1.3.1.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - BonePain (European Training Network on Bone Pain)

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

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Musculoskeletal disorders are the second greatest cause of disability in the world, and a large part of the disability is due to bone pain. In Europe 20-30% of adults are affected at any one time by musculoskeletal pain such as arthritis pain, lower back pain, pain from osteoporotic fractures and bone metastasis. An intensified effort is warranted to overcome this huge societal challenge by elucidating the mechanisms of musculoskeletal pain and providing better treatment. To address this societal challenge and the strong innovation potential, the BonePain training network has created the first European platform to promote frontline research, innovation and education within bone pain. The network encompasses 5 academic and 2 industrial beneficiaries as well as 1 industrial partner and 1 academic partner. All are committed to creating an outstanding training program for early stage researchers to elucidate the mechanisms of bone pain and develop new medicines.

The overall objective of the BonePain training network is to train early stage researchers to become highly skilled and innovative researchers and provide them with expertise that will enable them to gain high level employment both in academia and industry. Through integrated research projects they address key questions related to bone pain and push forward the field towards better treatment for the millions of Europeans suffering from bone pain.

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

As planned, thirteen early stage researchers have been recruited and all thirteen are enrolled as PhD students at universities in London, Copenhagen, Stockholm and Utrecht. A thriving network has been created with strong collaborative bonds across disciplines and between academia and industry. In their internet forum and at network meetings and other meetings the early stage researchers interact and share advice and methodologies. Furthermore they learn new techniques at secondments within the network and profit from scientific discussions with the principal investigators and other senior scientists. The research projects are progressing according to plan and many of the early stage researchers have already presented their work at international conferences. In their research they investigate the underlying mechanisms and potential new treatments of bone pain from cancer, arthritis, fracture and osteomalacia. Major results so far concern the interaction of the immune system and the nervous system in inflammatory arthritis; development of new models; the implementation of a biobank of cancer-infiltrated human bone samples; use of systemic biomarkers in painful osteoarthritis; and identification of several new targets for the treatment of bone-related pain in arthritis and cancer.

The early stage researchers have participated in a range of training activities. At the network meetings they have presented their results and chaired sessions, and they have had workshops on research specific subjects and on presentation skills. At our industrial beneficiaries they have attended workshops on biomarkers and on drug discovery and development. They have been exposed to successful scientists in academia and industry and discussed their individual career paths. They have also trained through secondments and 8 early stage researchers have already had a total of 14 secondments with academic and industrial beneficiaries and partners in the BonePain network and further secondments are planned. By the end of the project all early stage researchers will have benefitted from secondments. In addition, the early stage researchers have participated in courses covering research subjects as well as transferable skills.

The early stage researchers are very active in disseminating their research both to the scientific community and to the general public. They have given oral presentations and poster presentations at scientific meetings and are preparing to publish the results of their first studies. The first manuscript is under review and several are in the last stages of writing. Moreover, the early stage researchers are engaged in outreach activities to the general public.

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)

In the BonePain network the early stage researchers receive an interdisciplinary, state-of-the-art and innovative training from the industrial partners and from some of the foremost bone and pain researchers in Europe. With their training, research and network they are the foundation of a strengthen effort towards better medicines for musculoskeletal pain.

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