Press release: Presentation of the TRAIN project

24. 09. 2018

Press release: Presentation of the TRAIN project

TRAIN is the project funded by the European Union through the Interreg Italia-Slovenia program in 2017, with over one million euro. The results obtained with very innovative techniques and methodologies from the ICGEB, in collaboration with the most important Slovenian research institute, "Jozef Stefan", will positively affect the diagnosis and treatment of widespread diseases among the population.

"We are talking about myocardial infarction, difficult wounds in diabetic patients, inflammatory diseases and pain therapies" - underlines Serena Zacchigna, head of the ICGEB Cardiovascular Biology group who will present the project on Wednesday, September 26 at 4:25 pm in the Oceania Hall of the Stazione Marittima as part of the events linked to the Euro BioHighTech.

The purpose of the presentation is to inform about the scientific results achieved, both the patients concerned, and the scientific managers of the institutions of the health sector, hospitals and nursing homes firstly. But also the technology transfer to companies in the BioHighTech sector that can activate capital for the use of new knowledge is not secondary.

But a year from the start, Train has already come a long way. We analyze the stations already crossed.

ICGEB and Jozef Stefan, sharing the results of their studies, have developed a list of active ingredients and drugs already on the market that can control fibrosis (cardiac, pulmonary and hepatic).

"After the first results of the research, we believe we have undertaken the way to recreate the heart tissue in the test tube", says Serena Zacchigna. We started by isolating cardiomyocytes, which are the most characteristic cells of the heart muscle and difficult to grow in the laboratory, " she concludes.

In addition, the studies are leading to the development of a cellular model to evaluate the effectiveness of pain therapies, based on the culture of sensory neurons capable of generating a measurable response from researchers.

Experteam, the partner company of Train based in Venice and specialized in molecular biology, has started a pilot project, using the scientific data already made available, to create biological tests, able to identify in a very short time the presence in the waters and foods of pathogenic microorganisms and bacteria starting from the responses that the cells return when they are in contact with foreign substances. Experteam's participation is extremely important because it realizes, in practice, the technological transfer of scientific achievements to the productive industrial world.

One of the first companies to show interest in the research of the TRAIN project, is Ape Research, a company specialized in scanning microscopes for 3D mapping in biotechnology and nanotechnology sectors, based in the Area Science Park of Basovizza. In just a few days, it has started a collaboration with the ICGEB, making available one of the leading technologies, the "TriA SNOM", for the nanoscale detection of the cells under study. This tool will facilitate the registration, through images, of cellular responses to new drugs.

Within the framework of reciprocal exchanges between the scientific institutions of Italy and Slovenia, strongly encouraged by the Interreg program, the ICGEB has already actively participated in the training programs of the Post-graduate School of the Jožef Stefan Institute, bringing two heads of the study groups (Serena Zacchigna for Cardiovascular Biology and Luca Braga for High Throughput Screening Techniques applied to Molecular Medicine) to post-graduate PhD courses, addressing very specialized topics such as the treatment of pulmonary fibrosis.

Moreover, the selections for participation in the 2019 Summer School have already started, to be held in Bled from May 13 to 17, carried out within the framework of Train, to allow university students and researchers from the academic and industrial world to approach complex issues, studied within the project, such as high-throughput screening, analysis of high-resolution microscopy images, bio-informatics and machine learning.

Technological and scientific transfer to companies is particularly important because it turns into jobs and wealth for the territory. The Train project, aware of the repercussions that the results of their research can have, has started a mapping of companies that can be facilitated in their activity by the use of the huge amount of data resulting from the research. Once again a local company, BioValley Investments, together with the Consortium for the CBM Molecular Biomedicine Center, have drawn up an open list of potentially interested companies. For the Slovenian side this task is in the hands of the Ljubljana Technology Park.

In addition, the researchers and partners who are collaborating on both the Italian and the Slovenian side to develop the ambitious project, which will end in March 2020, will meet on September 25th in Trieste, at the Chamber of Commerce headquarters in Piazza della Borsa 14, to take stock of the progress of the project and compare for further improvement of the techniques of scientific analysis and dissemination of results.

For clarifications or for further materials please contact:

Mr Stefano Cesca
M +39 335 7308287

Press release here.