Consortium - FP7 CANDO
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Consortium

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Given the challenging goals of realising this innovative technology, we have brought together key European players that are each (amongst) the top performers in their respective field in Europe and/or world-wide

Four of the ten partners, BPH, GILUPI, MFCS and IKL are commercially focussed private companies, with the first three being for profit enterprises and the fourth having a closely connected spinout (PoC Microsolutions) highly interested in the project. They have the know-how, capability and networks to bring the developed technology to the diagnostic market directly for cancer monitoring, anti-cancer drug development and indirectly for multiple other applications in healthcare or other fields.

UVEG

The University of Valencia (UVEG) is one of the oldest, largest and most important universities in Spain and includes 92 departments and 16 research institutes. UVEG is the fourth university in Spain within the ranking of research. The research Institute of Materials Science of the University of Valencia (ICMUV) was organized in 1995 from the union of several research groups of the Chemistry and Physics Faculties. Currently, the institute has a research budget >1 M euros per year and includes 28 permanent researchers and 24 PhD and post-doc researchers.

UVEG acts as the project co-ordinator and dissemination/exploitation leader and as such has much activity in WP1 and WP6. UVEG will use its know-how in WP3 to develop structures and membranes with nanoplasmonic material for CTC isolation and SERS with IPHT and in WP4 for ring resonators based on birefringency, incorporating the use of phase modulation where possible, with IMEC. It will also participate in WP5 in evaluating sensing modules developed in WP4 for their integration into the platform as well as fabrication of the biosensor cartridges.

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Karolinska University Hospital is a leading centre for gastroenterology and gastroenterological surgery and is closely linked to Karolinska Institutet a world leading university and research institute. At Karolinska 400 pancreas cancer patients (PDAC) are taken care of every year, 80 of whom goes to surgery, while the rest are offered radio- and chemo therapy. The patients are treated in a highly systematic and well controlled clinical setting. The excellent staff at the pathology department takes care of more than 75 PDAC samples a year for diagnostic and research purposes. More than 70 cases are biobanked each year with a time from patient to freezer of less than 30 minutes. A high number of patients are included in various research projects and clinical trials.

The pancreas cancer research group consists of 50 persons covering a huge competence area from basic science, molecular biology, proteomics, cell culture to pathology, surgeons and clinicians. The research group works with animal models, cell and tissue culture, molecular analyses, sequencing, pharmacogenomics, clinical research and clinical trials. The group is well established and founded and has the best clinical results on PDCA in the country, well in class with the best in the world. The head of the lab is Professor Matthias Löhr. One of the worlds leading pathologists, associate professor and senior consultant Caroline Verbeke is also actively involved in the research and in the CanDo project.

Karolinska is responsible for the work on human samples from healthy volunteers and PDCA patients. We have got an ethical permit for the project and will establish a sample collection at the Karolinska Biobank/Stockholm Medical Biobank. Karolinska arranged a very inspiring end user meeting in march 2014, defining the clinical use of CTC in PDAC as well as defining the end-users need of the CanDo project .

Karolinska also has a number of suitable pancreas ductal epithelial cell lines as well as characterized cell lines from pancreatic cancer, which are now distributed to the CanDo partners.

Bayer

Bayer Pharma AG (BPH) is among the world’s foremost innovators in the field of pharmaceutical and medical products. This subgroup’s mission is to research, develop, manufacture and market innovative products that improve the health of people and animals throughout the world. The globally operating Health Care subgroup is divided into four operating divisions. The Pharmaceuticals Division is today the highest-selling pharmaceuticals company in Germany and holds a worldwide leading position in its main therapeutic areas. The focus is on prescription medicines. The division combines its strengths in two business units: General Medicine and Specialty Medicine.

BPH as a potential end-user it participates in specification, technical assessment and pre-clinical validation studies in WP2. It also participates the technical validation (WP5) benchmarking the platform against several others, commercial or otherwise to which it has access including the ‘Gold Standard’ CellSearch from Veridex.

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IK4-IKERLAN (IKL) is a private not-for-profit Technological Research Centre in the north of Spain. From its creation in 1974 in the fold of what is the Mondragon Group, Spain’s seventh-largest corporation, IKERLAN has worked together with regional companies from the machinery and capital goods, domestic appliance, electronics and computing, transport and energy sectors. IK4-IKERLAN is one of the founding members and driving forces of the IK4 Research Alliance, consisting of eight Spanish technology centres with a combined research staff of more than 1400 men and women.

IKL will contribute to the CanDo project with their vast experience in smart systems development and integration, leading WP5 with the aim of engineering a robust and easy to use integrated point of care holistic solution. Their multidisciplinary approach will facilitate the integration of all the research work results of WP3 and WP4, in which IKL will also take part as a technological advisor.

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KTH leads the Cartridge I development workpackage (WP3) where it will develop the microfluidic based in vitro CTC isolation methods (WP3). In WP4 it develops the nucleic acid preparation method. It is also involved in WP2 for pre-clinical validation.

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Stockholm University (SU) in Stockholm is one of the largest universities in Sweden with more than 60000 students, 1800 PhD students and 5000 employees active within science and humanities. The group of Molecular Diagnostics, headed by Professor Mats Nilsson, is located at the Swedish national research center Science for Life Laboratory, located at the Karolinska medical university’s campus. The group is focused on developing novel molecular analysis tools for research and diagnostics, and to integrate them to analytical system concepts.  Four companies have spun out of the research. The group consists of 1 researcher, 1 bioinformatician, 4 postdocs and 9 PhD students. The group of Molecular Diagnostics has a long track record of developing molecular analysis techniques and transfering these to industrial application. The group has participated in the FP6 COMICS, FP7 TWOBIAS and FP7 Diatools projects, and lead work packages in the FP6 MolTools and FP7 READNA projects. They are also participating and leading work packages in the IMI projects ONCOTRACK and RAPP-ID.

SU will be responsible for developing multiplex padlock probing of marker transcripts and bead-based as well as biosensor surface based RCA in WP4. It also participates in WP5.

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IPHT-Jena

Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology (IPHT) located in Jena, Germany, is a non-profit R&D organization of the state of Thuringia. 285 employees are working primarily in the research and development of photonic processes and systems from the basics to applications in biophotonics, fiber optics, and photonic detection. The focus of the research department “Spectroscopy and Imaging” is on the research, development, and integration of photonic tools and methods to heighten the specificity and sensitivity in optical analytics and biomedical diagnostics. Furthermore, the research of tools for chemical (label-free) imaging of mammalian tissue and mammalian cells constitutes a focus of the department. The group “Optical Cell Diagnostic” combines microfluidics, micromanipulation and Raman-based techniques to identification and sorting of single cells.

IPHT will develop an optical readout system for the cartridge (I) utilizing the SERS effect of Raman spectroscopy (WP3) and collaborate with IKL in integrating the system within the instrument development (WP5). The development also includes system integration and data analysis routines to quantify and identify immobilized cells.

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Microfluidic ChipShop GMBH (MFCS) MFCS, founded in 2002 and family-owned, is one of the leading polymer microfluidic service providers worldwide. The company has extensive experience in microfluidic design and development, with a large number of existing functional modules (e.g. chip-based PCR, DNA extraction, separation, mixing etc.) available for rapid proof-of-concept experiments as well as a complete industrial infrastructure for polymer-based microfluidic devices using volume fabrication methods including tool-making, injection-molding, hot embossing and back-end processing under cleanroom conditions. In addition, the company operates application laboratories for fluidic and application validation including a cell biology laboratory and a PCR lab with real-time instruments.

Within the proposed project, MFCS will contribute to system and microfluidic cartridge specifications (WP 2), will support the development of the microfluidic cartridges and the actual fabrication of the devices (WP 3 and 4) and will be active in the platform development (WP 5). By employing industrial development and manufacturing methods MFCS will ensure the commercial validity of the developed microfluidic devices. In WP 6, MFCS will be involved in the exploitation activities and will provide training courses for topics such as microfluidics and microfabrication.

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(IMEC) Leuven, Belgium. It is a world-leading independent research center in nanoelectronics and nanotechnology. Imec vzw is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, has a sister company in the Netherlands, imec-NL, offices in the US, China and Taiwan, and representatives in Japan. Its staff of more than 1700 people includes more than 500 industrial residents and guest researchers. Imec has many years of experience with designing and measuring silicon photonic integrated circuits, also for (bio)sensing purposes. It also has more than a decade experience with wafer level cleanings, wafer surface treatments and surface functionalization and biofunctionalization of CMOS materials (oxides, metals) and with nanoparticle (magnetic, plasmonic) based assays.

Imec will lead the design, functionalisation, testing and measurement of the Si photonics transducers, working alongside UVEG (WP4) and will produce the sensor devices within its fabrication facilities.

Gilupi

Gilupi GmbH (GILUPI) is a Diagnostic Medical Device Company focused on rare cell capturing technologies from circulating blood and other biological fluids based on its innovative CellCollector platform. GILUPI was founded in 2006 and has 22 employees located in Potsdam and Greifswald.

Gilupi will lead WP2 and contribute to definition of end-user requirements and technical specifications for the CanDo platform as well as the preclinical validation in WP2. In WP3 GILUPI will develop a CellCollector for the indication pancreas cancer and participate in the integration of the detector to the CanDo platform and in the integration of the instrument subsystems in WP5. It leads the XMC in WP6.

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