Servizio Comunitario di Informazione in materia di Ricerca e Sviluppo - CORDIS

Final Activity Report Summary - DEATHTRAIN (Cell death: from basic principles to therapeutic application)

The Marie Curie Research Training Network APOPTRAIN linked up 13 academic and two industrial partners of recognised international stature in a well-defined collaborative research project to provide a platform for structured training, transfer of knowledge and career development in cell death research. The joint project elucidated the molecular mechanism of cell death to develop novel cancer therapies. This topic is highly relevant to the objective of combating cancer, one of the top priorities of the European Framework Programme. The translation of new knowledge from bench to bedside is promoted by a multidisciplinary team of experts in both basic and applied research from nine different European countries (Germany, Austria, Belgium, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Switzerland, United Kingdom). The partnership between academia and industry including a research-intensive small-medium enterprise fostered innovation and the commercialisation of novel discoveries that are made in the course of the project and ensured rapid dissemination and translation of the research results into novel cancer therapies and clinical practice. The joint research project has significantly advanced the international state-of-the-art in cell death research.

The novel concept of targeting cell death pathways for cancer therapy has generated several major breakthroughs and the development of innovative cancer therapies, as demonstrated by the many publications in high-level journals by the principal investigators as well as fellows of the network, including publications in Cell, Molecular Cell, Nature Cell Biology, Nature Medicine, Nature, New England Journal of Medicine, Genes and Development, Immunity, Nature Immunology, Journal of Clinical Investigation and Journal of Experimental Medicine. This highlights the excellence of the network, both in research as well as in training. The network's training programme fully exploited the network's interdisciplinary, intersectorial and Trans-European aspects. Secondments including an industrial workshop, summer schools, education in complementary skills and a mentoring programme including seminars for the promotion of women in science advised trainees on new opportunities for multiple career paths creating an outstanding platform for training and career development of young researchers. 27 fellows were trained within this network from 14 different European and non-European countries, including Austria, Belgium, Cameroon, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Iran, Pakistan and Turkey.

The training programme created a new European cadre of researchers with interdisciplinary, intersectorial and complementary skills, originality, flexibility and humanity, who are prepared for a wide range of career options, e.g. in academia, industry and private or public sectors. Therefore, the training programme responded to the broader needs of the European labour market and enhanced employability.

The network addressed many objectives of European policies, for example by integrating different disciplines, by fostering industry-academia cooperation, by overcoming fragmentation, by structuring the European research area, by enhancing Europe's attractiveness for researchers and Europe's competitively, by promoting women in science, by supporting European Union regional policy and cohesion, by integrating less favoured regions, new member and associated countries, the network realised European added value and fostered European excellence in research. Since breakthroughs in the development of innovative cancer therapies that will likely improve clinical practice and public health have been achieved over and above which can be done by a single team in a national context, this network yielded European added value and delivered long-term benefit to the European and international community in combating cancer with major socio-economic impact.

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