1705049312 MedUni Vienna coordinates EU project on the influence of infectious

MedUni Vienna coordinates EU project on the influence of infectious diseases on non communicable diseases MedUni Vienna

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(Vienna, 12 January 2024) The Medical University of Vienna is coordinating an international research project to understand how infectious diseases (ID), together with environmental and genetic factors, influence the occurrence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). The project titled “ID-DarkMatter-NCD”, which is funded with a total of €8.4 million from the EU Research and Innovation Framework Programme, includes 12 European consortium partners.

Non-communicable diseases related to the immune system include chronic inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease. In recent years, there has been increasing recognition that infectious diseases can cause NCDs, but for most NCDs, the exact causative microbial agents remain unknown. Furthermore, in most cases, exposure to an ID alone does not trigger the development of an NCD, and additional genetic and environmental aspects are believed to play a role.

As part of “ID-DarkMatter-NCD”, the consortium aims to decipher this complex interplay of IDs, genetic and environmental factors in triggering immune system-related NCDs, pursuing a multi-disease and multi-omics approach.

Thomas Vogl from the Center for Cancer Research at MedUni Vienna will coordinate the project. Michael Bonelli from the Clinical Department of Rheumatology at the University Clinic for Internal Medicine III at MedUni Vienna will focus on the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis.

Examining the effects of immunological and genetic factors on NCDs
To achieve this ambitious vision, ID-DarkMatter-NCD consists of a multidisciplinary team that brings together experts in clinical, immunology, genetics, biology and data science to study various NCDs using a variety of complementary approaches. “By combining the most modern immunological and genetic methods, we will paint a holistic picture of the different diseases”, explains Thomas Vogl. “This will allow us to identify microbes that influence the onset of these diseases, as well as identify people at risk and pave the way for new therapeutic approaches.”

Given that these datasets are exceptionally large, the consortium also includes experts in artificial intelligence and machine learning, enabling the development of new diagnostic algorithms.

Details about the project
ID-DarkMatter-NCD is carried out as part of the EU research and innovation framework program “Horizon Health” (HORIZON-HLTH-2023-DISEASE-03).
– Total project: 8.4 million euros
– Participation of MedUni Vienna: 2.5 million euros
– Consortium: 12 partners
– Term: 60 months
– MedUni Vienna participants: Cancer Research Center (Thomas Vogl, coordinator), Clinical Department of Rheumatology (Michael Bonelli)

Project partners:
Medical University of Vienna (Austria)
Karolinska Institute (Sweden)
Sorbonne University (France)
Groningen University Medical Center (Netherlands)
Leiden University Medical Center (Netherlands)
Eutema Research Services (Austria)
Vall d'Hebron Research Institute (Spain)
Biological Research Center Szeged (Hungary)
Christian Albrechts University of Kiel (Germany)
Assistance Publique Hopitaux de Paris (France)
University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein (Germany)
An associated partner in Switzerland has additional funds of around 1.2 million euros:
University of Basel

Public launch meeting
ID-DarkMatter-NCD will take place from January 1, 2024 until the end of 2028, and all project partners will come together for a kickoff meeting in Vienna. A public session will take place on January 16, 2024, in the Art Nouveau conference room of the Rectory building. From 1:30 pm to 4:00 pm, the partners will present the project and their research knowledge. Colleagues at the Medical University of Vienna who are interested in immune-related NCDs and the role of infectious diseases are warmly invited.

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