Brussels, 11 Apr 2005
The European Commission is providing 12 million euro to a new Network of Excellence bringing together 37 European research groups working towards the understanding of muscle development, function and repair.
MYORES, funded under the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) over a five-year period, is aimed at developing therapies for various muscle pathologies.
In Europe, some 300,000 individuals are affected by muscular dystrophies, while muscular degeneration is one of the most incapacitating features of ageing, leading to decreased mobility and loss of independence.
The MYORES partners will participate in six high technology platforms, and the data resulting from research within these platforms will be centralised in a common database, MYOBASE, to facilitate and accelerate access to results for all the members of the network.
Research will be carried out simultaneously on six different animal models such as chickens and mice, invertebrates and primate vertebrates.
'The idea is to identify as quickly as possible - in simple organisms that are well known and understood - the function and role of common genetic denominators that are implicated in muscular development and that have been conserved during species evolution, particularly in humans,' explains the MYORES consortium. 'This will enable scientists to gain a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in human muscle repairing systems.'
In recent demonstrations it as been shown that throughout evolution, many of the molecular mechanisms regulating muscle differentiation have been highly conserved. As the partners explain, molecular pathways can be easily assessed in invertebrates. MYORES will, therefore, exploit this advantage and extend the knowledge gained in these systems to determine gene function in higher vertebrates. This is a unique aspect of the project and places it at the international forefront of understanding of gene function during normal muscle development and disease.
The network will then disseminate the results obtained from the different models and apply them to specific human muscular pathologies. One million euro has been earmarked to encourage small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to use these results in the development of new therapies.
For further information on MYORES, please visit: