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Feature Archive

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

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

EIT Health Sum­mit - Register Now

The European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT) Health Summit is a community of world-leading healthcare innovators in Europe. Key industry voices will gather at the summit to work towards a vision of sustainable healthcare transformation that has an impact and delivers better care for all citizens.

The EIT Health Summit will be held at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm on 24-25 May 2022.

Be part of the discussions and debate on the following topics :

  • Next-generation health and human-centered innovation
  • Life sciences in transition
  • The rise of telehealth
  • Towards a healthcare renaissance​
  • Rethinking health governance and policy
  • The Disrupters
  • Investing in healthcare and innovation
  • EIT Health Catapult Final & Award Ceremony

More information and registration link are available here. Of note, early bird registration ends soon!

Sources: EIT Health, Euresearch

Information Event on Funding Opportunities for Swiss Companies and Innovators

The Technopark Winterthur and Euresearch co-organise an information event about the opportunities in Horizon Europe for Swiss companies and innovators, as well as the Swiss transitional measures.

The event will be held on 12 April 2022 during lunch time, and organised as a hybrid meeting (online / Technopark).

More information about the event and registration link are available here.

Sources: Technopark Winterthur, Euresearch

Swiss Accelerator: call for projects 2022 just launched

After the adoption of transitional measures in respect to Horizon Europe for start-ups and SMEs by the Swiss Federal Council, Innosuisse is introducing the Swiss Accelerator and has launched the 2022 call for projects.

This funding opportunity is aimed at individual Swiss start-ups and SMEs with the ambition to quickly and efficiently commercialise project results and scale accordingly.

Check out the Innosuisse website for more details about the application requirements and process, the evaluation criteria etc.

Short applications can be submitted from 19 April until 10 May 2022 (12:00 CEST).

Sources: Innosuisse, Euresearch

Webinar on IMI Impact on SMEs in Health Data Management & Health IT Sectors

The Innovative Health Initiative (IHI) is organising a series of live sessions on Innovative Medicine Initiative (IMI) impact, where key actors will explore the challenges and demonstrate how IMI contributes.

The webinar will be organised on 29 March 2022 at 14:00 CET.

The goal is to engage IHI/IMI stakeholders in a broader discussion on IMI’s impact and ask them for their active participation. This session will be focused on IMI's impact on SMEs in IMI projects.

More information and registration here.

Sources: IHI, Euresearch

Horizon Europe Info Day – Funding Opportunities for Switzerland

Euresearch will organise its yearly event "Horizon Europe Info Day – Funding Opportunities for Switzerland" on 14 June 2022 in Bern.

This is a unique occasion to learn more about the advantages that Swiss based researchers and innovators can take while applying to the European Framework Programme. Tips, opportunities, success stories, networking during the closing networking apero, thematic booths with specific experts are also part of the event programme!

Participation is free of charge but registration is mandatory.

Click here for the registration link and the agenda.

Source: Euresearch

Introducing the Innovative Health Initiative - Europe’s new partnership for health

What is the Innovative Health Initiative (IHI)? Who are the partners? And how can I get involved? These and other questions about the IHI partnership between the EU and European life sciences industries were answered in the online launch event held on 26 January 2022.

The presentation slides are available here for download, and the event recording has been posted on YouTube.

Would you like to apply for IHI funding, check out the future opportunities for calls on the dedicated IHI webpage.

Sources: IHI, Euresearch

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