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PRISMAP – The European medical radionuclides programme sets out to substantially change the European landscape for novel and emerging medical radionuclides

Nuclear therapy and molecular imaging are widely used at hospitals for new promising medical procedures. They can drastically improve the outcome for many medical conditions, and enables treating disseminated cancer in particular. However, its effective development has long been limited by the difficult access to radionuclides not yet commercially available. With PRISMAP – The European medical radionuclides programme, this is about to change.

In nuclear medicine, a radioactive substance is introduced into a patient and finds its way to specific biological targets in the body. Depending on the radioactive properties of the radioisotope, it may emit radiation that can be detected with external detectors to visualise the distribution of the isotopes (SPECT, PET imaging); alternatively, it may emit charged particles like α or β- particles which deposit their energy locally (within μm to a few mm, namely from the size of a cell to the size of a metastasis), thereby only destroying cells located nearby, e.g. to treat a cancer with targeted radionuclide therapy (TRNT). Out of the more than 3,000 different radioisotopes that scientists have synthesised in the laboratory, only a handful are regularly used for medical procedures, mostly for imaging, though the interest in TRNT has been growing in the last few years as illustrated with the marketing of Lutathera® to treat advanced prostate cancer. One of the main limits to the development of novel radio-medicinal products is the access to radionuclides during the development and early biomedical research phases. Within PRISMAP – The European medical radionuclides programme, we aim at enabling this development phase by providing access to novel radioisotopes of high purity grade for medical research.

Production of radioisotopes

The radioactive elements that are used in nuclear medicine are not available naturally and must be synthesised in the laboratory. There are two main paths: neutron irradiation in a nuclear research reactor or proton or alpha irradiation with a particle accelerator. The size and energy of the particle accelerator determines which radioisotope can be produced: small, compact machines are found in many hospitals, providing access to the radioisotopes used today. However, higher-energy machines are needed to produce novel radioisotopes currently not available.

Purification of radioisotopes

When producing those novel radioisotopes, new challenges appear: the co-production of unwanted radioactivity which affects the quality of the medicinal product, may induce adverse effects to a patient, and can cause serious difficulties to waste management in a hospital environment. As such, novel purification techniques are required. Within PRISMAP – The European medical radionuclides programme, we shall develop techniques based on physical mass separation and radiochemistry to achieve high purity radioisotope production that is appropriate for medicinal products.

Access and translational research

In order to support the ongoing research across Europe and beyond, immediate access to novel radioisotopes will be provided by PRISMAP – The European medical radionuclides programme. A single-access platform will be established via the PRISMAP website where the production and support capabilities will be presented.

A network of world-leading, European facilities, including nuclear reactors, medium- and high-energy accelerators, and radiochemical laboratories, has been established to offer the broadest catalogue of radioisotopes for medical research. Mass separation is available at the CERN MEDICIS facility to provide the physical separation of isotopes of an element. This is completed by a network of biomedical research facilities who may host external researchers to perform their research close to the production facility when the isotopes are not suitable for long transport to their institution, or when the European licensing for novel radioisotopes has not yet been obtained.

Access to radioisotopes and associated facilities will be granted on an excellence selection basis, by applying for access to radioisotopes and, if necessary, to the complementary biomedical facilities, via the the online access platform. A selection panel consisting of experts in the fields of radioisotope production, molecular imaging and radionuclide therapy will select the best projects from the applicants. The first call for proposals will be launched before the end of 2021 for applications in the first quarter of 2022. It will be open to any interested party.

Looking towards the future

In the fast-evolving landscape around nuclear medicine, PRISMAP – The European medical radionuclides programme is also turned towards the future. The European Commission has expressed its commitment to tackle societal impact on cancer through the Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan and in particular the SAMIRA Action Plan unveiled earlier this year, including the establishment of a European Radioisotope Valley Initiative. Through the PRISMAP consortium of 23 academic and research institutions across Europe, development towards the upscaling of the production of these novel radioisotopes will be investigated, in the form of novel production technology, new purification methods, and proof-of-concept investigations showing the development of new treatments from test bench to patient care, directly feeding this European-wide plan.

As a consortium serving a starting researcher’s community, we are looking to become a more established community and to welcome new facilities to enlarge our capabilities. Novel facilities are on the horizon, such as the Jules Horowitz Reactor in CEA Cadarache (France), the ISOL@MYRRHA mass separator facility at SCK CEN (Belgium), the new SPES accelerator complex in the INFN’s Legnaro National Laboratories (Italy), the European Spallation Source in Lund (Sweden), and finally both the new SPIRAL2 facility at GANIL (France) that has recently accelerated its first beams and the FAIR facility in GSI (Germany) which construction is progressing. Those new facilities will directly benefit from the findings within PRISMAP towards increasing the production capacity across Europe.

New data will be generated and compiled towards the immediate and smooth adoption of the novel radioisotopes in medical environments though collaboration between research hospitals and metrology institutes (e.g. the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington, UK). All the new findings will be used towards creating new teaching material for professionals in the various fields of this multi-disciplinary domain, as well as for training the next generation of professionals and advising the European Commission on these emerging radioisotopes.

Nuclear medicine research is a truly multidisciplinary approach, and to move forward, we need to build bridges between physicists, engineers, radiochemists, inorganic chemists, structural biologists, clinicians, medical physicists, dosimetrists, pharmacologists, and oncologists. PRISMAP – The European medical radionuclides programme, will certainly support the implementation of a multidisciplinary working concept in practice.

For more info on PRISMAP, please visit the PRISMAP website at https://www.prismap.eu.

PRISMAP has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101008571 (PRISMAP – The European medical radionuclides programme).

Breaking News

Swiss Participation in Horizon Europe

Although Switzerland is still a non-associated country, Swiss-based entities can participate in collaborative projects in Horizon Europe as 'associated partners'. This means they can lead work packages and have an active role in project management.

The budget for the Swiss partner is covered by the State Secretariat for Education Research and Innovation (SERI).

Check out the latest Euresearch factsheet on Swiss eligibility and participation in Horizon Europe. You can also visit the Euresearch website for more information about Swiss status as well as information about an associated partner's role.

Source: Euresearch

Registration Open for the European Research and Innovation Days 2022

European Research and Innovation Days is the European Commission’s annual flagship Research and Innovation event, bringing together policymakers, researchers, entrepreneurs and the public to debate and shape new solutions to strengthen Europe’s resilience and its strategic autonomy in terms of research and innovation.

Registration is now open for this online event, which will be held on 28 and 29 September 2022.

Registration link, programme and more info are available here.

Sources: Euresearch, EC

European Re­search and In­nov­a­tion Days 2022

The European Commission's annual flagship Research and Innovation event brings together policymakers, researchers, entrepreneurs and the public to debate and shape the future of research and innovation in Europe and beyond. Take part in the event to discuss and shape new solutions to strengthen Europe's resilience and its strategic autonomy!

The event will take place online on 28 and 29 September 2022, allowing everyone to get involved from anywhere.

Visit the event webpage and stay tuned for more news about the programme, registrations etc.

Sources: Euresearch, EC

EIT and EUIPO: New Agree­ment to be­ne­fit SMEs

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) have signed an agreement that brings together innovation and intellectual property for the benefit of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

EIT is an European body created in 2008 to strengthen Europe's ability to innovate. EUIPO is the European agency responsible for managing registrations of the EU trade mark and the registered Community design valid in all EU member states.

Both organisations play a complementary role in supporting SMEs and entrepreneurs and, as a result, the European economy as a whole.

Read more about the collaboration between EIT and EUIPO by clicking here.

Sources: Euresearch, EIT

EIT & COST – New Part­ner­ship to Re­in­force Syn­er­gies

A new partnership between the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) and the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) has been formed to identify synergies between scientists, businesses, innovators and citizens. The cooperation agreement aims at developing innovation and exploring new market opportunities.

Read more about the partnership between EIT and COST by clicking here.

Sources: Euresearch, EIT

Horizon Europe - New Cancer Mission Call Just Launched

The Horizon Europe Cancer Mission call just launched, with five topics open for proposal submission:

  • Improving and upscaling primary prevention of cancer through implementation research: link to call topic
  • Strengthening research capacities of Comprehensive Cancer Infrastructures: link to call topic
  • Pragmatic clinical trials to optimise treatments for patients with refractory cancers: link to call topic
  • Towards the creation of a European Cancer Patient Digital Centre: link to call topic
  • Establishing of national cancer mission hubs and creation of network to support the Mission on Cancer: link to call topic.

The deadline for proposal submission is set on 7 September 2022.

Sources: EC, Euresearch

MSCA 2022 Postdoctoral Fellowships and Doctoral Networks Calls Now Open

The 2022 calls of the Postdoctoral Fellowships (PF) and Doctoral Networks (DN) of the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) are now open. They have their deadlines on 14 September 2022 and 15 November 2022 and a budget of €428.28 Million and €257 Million, respectively.

Check out the call details and documents directly on the Funding and Tenders Portal:

In addition, don't miss the online Information Events for PF (20 May 2022, 10:00 CET) and DN (30 May 2022, 14:00 CET) organised by Euresearch, to learn more about the call conditions and how Swiss institutions can participate in these calls.

Source: Euresearch

Online Information Event on the MSCA Doctoral Network

In addition to the online event organised on 20 May 2022 about the Postdoctoral Fellowship (PF) of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA), Euresearch will also organise an information event on the 2022 MSCA Doctoral Network call, with its specificities, eligibility & award criteria and proposal structure. The focus will be on how Swiss Institutions can participate.

The event will be held remotely on 30 May 2022 at 14:00 - 15:30 CEST.

Participation is free but registration is mandatory using this link.

Source: Euresearch

European Institute of Innovation & Technology - New Multi-Annual Grants

The European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT) is offering multi-annual grants (2023-2025) to its Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) to strengthen the impact of their activities and continue to power innovation.

KICs bring together partners from business, research centres and higher education institutions to power innovation.The EIT has set up eight KICs, each tackling a specific global challenge, from climate change to sustainable energy and urban mobility to digitisation of our societies.

Read the conditions for the grants, respectives guidelines and templates on the EC's Funding and Tenders portal and the EIT website.

Sources: Euresearch, EIT

Innovative Health Initiative - First Draft Call Top­ics Pub­lished

The Innovative Health Initiative (IHI) plans to launch two calls for proposals in June 2022: one single stage call, and one two stage call.

Topics under consideration include heart and neurodegenerative diseases, personalised oncology and cancer imaging, use of health data, and improving patient access to health technologies.

The draft topic texts are already available here, well in advance of the official call launch to give potential applicants additional time to start building a consortium and drafting a proposal.

The IHI Programme Office is planning webinars and a brokerage event around the time of the call launch to help applicants with the new IHI rules and procedures.

Sources: Euresearch, IHI

Horizon Europe Missions Calls 2022 – Info Days and Virtual Brokerage Event

EU Missions are an additional part of Horizon Europe, which tackle big societal challenges and aim to achieve ambitious goals in health, climate and the environment by 2030.

At the EU Missions Info Days on 17 and 18 May 2022, a wide range of new topics for all 5 missions (Adaptation to Climate Change; Cancer; Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities; Ocean, Seas and Waters; and Soil Health) will be presented.

Following the info days, the virtual brokerage event will take place on 19 May 2022 in order to gather all the relevant stakeholders intending to apply for funding in EU Missions calls. This event will help you to build your consortium for the upcoming 2022 calls of the Missions Work Programme, which will be open from May 2022 to September 2022. Registration is mandatory for the brokerage event.

Source: Euresearch

Swiss Transitional Measures for Horizon Europe

The Swiss Federal Council has decided to provide funding for transitional measures to replace Horizon Europe 2022 call. Repeating transitional measures taken in 2021, the Federal Council decided on 4 May 2022, that participants will continue to receive funding from the Confederation for accessible 2022 calls for proposals.

The Swiss National Science Foundation will be mandated to put national measures in place for the ERC Advanced Grant and the Marie Sklodowska Curie (MSCA) Postdoctoral Fellowship. These grants will align with both the ERC and MSCA conditions and regulations as closely as possible.

Furthermore, if Switzerland remains a non-associated country, the Federal Council has also provided for the possibility of funding transitional measures in 2023 (for the ERC StG, CoG and AdG, and the EIC Accelerator).

Sources: Euresearch, Swiss Federal Council

Online Information Event on the MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowship

Euresearch will organise an online event on 20 May 2022 (10:00 - 11:00 CEST) to offer information on the Postdoctoral Fellowship (PF) of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA).

You will receive info about the specificities of the 2022 MSCA PF call, eligibility criteria, award criteria, evaluation, proposal structure, submission etc. You will also learn how to participate to the 2022 MSCA PF call with a Swiss host institution.

Participation is free of charge but registration is mandatory using this link.

Source: Euresearch

Innovative Health Initiative (IHI) - Kick-off and brokerage event

The Innovative Health Initiative (IHI) will launch its first calls for proposals in late June 2022. To support the creation of project proposals and the establishment of strong and effective consortia, IHI will organise a kick-off and brokerage event. This one-day hybrid event will take place on 14 June 2022 at Hotel Le Plaza in Brussels.

The event will be divided into two sessions:

  • Calls for proposals: IHI will present the content of the calls and outline the rules for participation. Topics covered will be the research priorities of IHI, call conditions, and even specific opportunities for SMEs.
  • Consortia building: there will be available time slots to make short elevator pitches on your proposals. Whether you are in the room or in a virtual environment, you can book meetings with representatives who have an interest in the same topics.

Participation is free of charge. Registration will open soon; the preliminary agenda is available via the IHI website.

Sources: IHI, Euresearch

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Anniversary Event

The Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) have funded highly skilled researchers for 25 years. At the Anniversary Event, which will be organised on 21 June 2022 in Bern, Euresearch will look back on the history of the MSCA together with speakers from the European Commission. They will also present an overview of Swiss participation and stories of researchers who benefitted from one or even more of the Actions.

Do not miss this event and register using this link!

Source: Euresearch

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