Industry-Academia Partnerships and Pathways Call identifier: FP7-PEOPLE-2012-IAPP
Project acronym: STEMMAD Grant agreement no.: 324451
Project full title: Patient-specific stem cell-derived models for Alzheimer’s disease and related neurodegenerative disorders (STEMMAD) “STEMMAD”

Overall Aim of the Grant: Generation of patient-specific induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) which can be used as in vitro neural cell models that will ultimately allow for customized treatment.

Disease Focus: Neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease (AD), frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA).

Methodology: Skin biopsies and blood samples will be collected from genetically and clinically well-characterized patients. Fibroblasts and mononuclear blood cells will be isolated and reprogrammed into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), which, in turn, will be differentiated into neural progenitor cells (NPCs) and specific neurons affected by the particular diseases. We expect that these neurons will express molecular characteristics of the patient’s “disease phenotype” and thereby be representative as patient-specific neural cell models. The models will be characterized for functional disease parameters, used for studies of molecular pathogenesis. The iPSC reprogramming and neural differentiation will be controlled by advanced molecular technologies including manipulation of microRNA (miRNA) expression as well as the use of plasmid minicircles with reprogramming factor genes, thus leaving the genome free of transgenes. To ensure the success of the project, direct transdifferentiation of fibroblasts into neurons, without an intermediate “stem cell” stage, will also be attempted as an alternative strategy for generating patient- specific neural cell models.
Consortia Partners and Achievement of “Transfer of Knowledge” (ToK): The STEMMAD project is aimed to create a highly innovative international collaboration between 2 R&D intensive SME Biotalentum, Hungary and Bioneer, Denmark) and 3 distinguished academic partners (University Copenhagen, Denmark; University Szeged, Hungary and University Mahidol, Thailand), including one non-EU “International Cooperation Partner Countries” (ICPC).

If you would like further information to this project please contact Kristine Freude kkf@sund.ku.dk