Brussels, 11 April 2002
The European Commission has selected 15 new research projects for funding, all focusing on TSEs (transmissible spongiform encephalopathies). The move, which came following a call for proposals made by the European Commission launched in May 2001, will provide an additional 21.5 million euro for research in the area.
The 15 successful projects were drawn from 40 submitted proposals. They will examine the surveillance, understanding, prevention and treatment of TSEs. One of the projects will push for increased coordination of TSE research through the creation of a European network of researchers active in the area, which will draw on more than 30 researchers from 20 countries, including some in Central and Eastern Europe.
Some 14 projects will be designed to improve the concentration of TSE research. In particular, projects will analyse areas such as diagnosis methods, the role of surgery in treating CJD (Creuzfeld-Jacobs Disease), possible vaccines and anti-body based therapy. The concentration activities are designed to bridge gaps in TSE research in Europe, namely in vivo testing for pre-clinical diagnosis, a human variant of the disease and risk assessment, inactivation of prions and prevention, and animal TSE and transmission.
The funding of the new projects brings the total dedicated by the European Commission to this area to 85 million euro since the launch in 1996 of the European research action plan on TSEs. The research will complement the work of the TSE Research expert group, which is updating an inventory of TSE research in Europe, as well as compiling an inventory of national research activities in TSE in small ruminants. The group has also decided to establish a working group to strengthen research in Europe and is discussing establishing a forum of national research managers.
For further information, please contact:
Stéphane Hogan DG Research