Pan European Networks - Horizon 2020 - page 179

Progressive results
The NanoAthero project also conducts works for improving thrombolytic
therapy in ischaemic stroke. The incidence of stroke is increasing,
especially among young people and women. The tissue plasminogen
activator, a protein involved in the breakdown of blood clots, is used in
humans but has a short therapeutic window. The goal is to improve the
treatment by combining a nanosystem that would set specifically at the
thrombus to release the active ingredient without leaving the vascular
compartment. Other systems are being studied in the project to optimise
the nanosystems, including targeting agents or incorporation of other
drugs and contrast agents, for both imaging and therapeutic treatments.
In this new field of nanomedicine, there is a lot of research, but very few
products have yet to arrive at the bedside. NanoAthero aims to take profit
of nanodelivery components that have been preclinically validated and
transferred to proof-of-concept clinical trials. Thereby, NanoAthero
gathers experts with knowledge ranging from the design of nanosystems,
preclinical and clinical validations, through toxicology to industrial
development and production.
Over five years, the NanoAthero project will integrate several key
elements: good manufacturing practices in production; the initiation of
clinical investigations in patients at high cardiovascular risk, including
the preparation of dossiers on regulatory issues; risk and ethical
assessments; and the evaluation of the performance of optimised
diagnostic and therapeutic compounds. The NanoAthero consortium is
a unique opportunity to extend the frontiers of knowledge on
atherothrombosis management.
Although nanoparticle-based therapy is
becoming increasingly common in cancerology,
no specific nanoparticle-based system has yet
been approved for diagnosis or therapy in
cardiovascular diseases. Indeed, integrating a
transport mechanism and a stealth coating,
targeting an active molecule into one and the
same nanosystem has not yet been clinically
validated in the field of atherosclerosis.
NanoAthero
Europe is very competitive in the area of
nanomedicine, with more than 1,000 research
groups and 500 SMEs. Various initiatives have
been taken at European level to stimulate
translational research in nanotechnology. The
NanoAthero project, funded by the European
Commission through the Seventh Framework
Programme and undertaken at Hôpital Bichat-
Claude Bernard in Paris, France, includes the
design of several nanosystems, their evaluation,
and clinical trials to evaluate the contribution of
nanosystems in the diagnosis and treatment of
atherosclerotic plaques and ischaemic stroke.
The NanoAthero project received €9.8m of EU
funding over five years, is intended for the
diagnosis of atherosclerotic plaque to prevent
cardiovascular diseases, including stroke, and
also relates to therapeutic uses for delivering
drugs in target tissues. NanoAthero gathers 16
partners from ten countries, including France,
Italy, Germany and Switzerland. Two clinical
trials have been co-ordinated with the
University Medical Center Amsterdam and
Utrecht University in the Netherlands, whilst in
France a further clinical trial will be conducted
at Bichat Hospital.
The first clinical trial began in the Netherlands
and included patients with carotid atheroma to
test the efficacy of a steroid (prednisolone)
encapsulated in pegylated liposomes. The
objective was to stabilise the plaque against
local inflammation. This intravenously
administered nanomedicine has proved its
efficacy in preclinical models of atherosclerosis.
A clinical trial should start at Bichat Hospital
before 2016 to evaluate a new imaging
technique for ischaemic stroke. It uses a
system developed from a polysaccharide
extracted from brown seaweed (fucoidan)
which specifically binds to P-selectin, a protein
expressed on the surface of platelets and
endothelial cells when they are activated.
Associated with 99mTc, this structure can
visualise thrombi in preclinical imaging by
SPECT scintigraphy. The idea is to detect early
thrombotic events.
Didier Letourneur, PhD
Inserm
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H E A L T H : D I S E A S E R E S E A R C H
Fig. 2 Multidisciplinary
approaches for the
translation to patients
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