Prestigious grant HORIZON EUROPE - “BEATsep” will tackle long-term consequences of sepsis.
The research consortium BEATsep, established by the Cellular and Molecular Immunoregulation (CMI) research team at the International Clinical Research Centre (ICRC), has been awarded a 6.9 million euro HORIZON EUROPE grant. The project entitled “Biomarkers established to stratify sepsis long-term adverse effects to improve patients’ health and quality of life (BEATsep)" aims to define markers of poor recovery of patients after sepsis and septic shock. This will be achieved through the discovery of novel mechanisms and their markers predicting the decline of health-related quality of life after sepsis. Sepsis and septic shock, affecting up to 50 million people worldwide with mortality reaching 20%, leaves large cohorts of vulnerable patients suffering from long-term complications that affect their quality of life.
The BEATsep project will apply an interdisciplinary approach bringing together research and clinical teams working on specific aspects of the development, treatment and prevention of the long-term consequences of sepsis and its impact on patients' quality of life. Comprehensive clinical and research data generated during the project will be integrated using artificial intelligence algorithms into an easy-to-use predictive tool capable of identifying patients at high risk of complications. Furthermore, the consortium plans to design a tertiary prevention strategy to improve the recovery outcomes.
For the next five years, the consortium brings six European countries together in a joint mission to understand and fight the long-term consequences of sepsis.
The consortium is coordinated by ICRC-FNUSA and will consist of leading European institutions including: 1) CIML - Centre d'immunologie de Marseille-Luminy – (Aix-Marseille Université/CNRS/Inserm); 2) The Institute of Innate Immunity, at the Medical Faculty of the University of Bonn, Germany; 3) Faculty of Medicine at the Comenius University in Slovakia; 4) the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Traumatology, Vienna, Austria; 5) BioVariance GmbH, Germany; 6) Masaryk University, Brno, Czechia; 7) National Institute of Health, Prague, Czechia; 8) University of Galway and 9) APHM - Marseille Hospitals. BEATsep assembles renowned experts in immuno-metabolism and epigenetics, immunophenotyping, diagnostic research and several clinical teams treating adult and pediatric sepsis patients. "It has taken nearly two years of intensive preparation and networking to assemble the consortium. We used the advantage of bringing together teams with whom we have been already collaborating on several other projects." says Dr. Marcela Hortová-Kohoutková from the CMI research group, who co-headed the project's preparation.
In total, 9 partners from renowned European research and clinical institutions and 1 commercial partner in six EU countries will be involved in the BEATsep. The project is an example of an innovative and successful combination of translational and clinical research, the know-how of several international scientists, and the collaboration between hospitals, universities and other scientific institutions.
Presentation Day of Immunotherapy
Ioanna Papatheodorou introduced BEATsep during the conference “Immunity and immunotherapy in current clinical practice.” This conference organized by Czech Immunology Society and Medical Faculty Pilzen, Charles University was a great event to discuss the current state of sepsis therapies and future perspectives, how to target sepsis and its long-lasting consequences. Ioanna Papatheodorou is a new member of ICRC team, greatly experienced in the field of immunometabolism and bioinformatics.
Presentation on yEFIS
The BEATsep mission was successfully presented during the conference “Mixer 2023” of Czech Young Immunologist Society by Marcela Hortova-Kohoutkova as one of the Keynote lectures. This conference was held as an occasion during celebrations of the World Day of Immunology.
BEATsep won the prize of the best poster during Colours of Sepsis
At the end of January 2023, the 25th edition of the international conference Colours of Sepsis dedicated to sepsis and intensive medicine in adults and children took place in Ostrava, and hosted many eminent international guests. BEATsep consortium was successfully represented at this conference by Dr. Marcela Hortová-Kohoutková and Dr. Jan Frič from Cellular and Molecular Immunoregulation team. Marcela presented a poster on the topic “Functional changes of monocytes and neutrophils as early markers of septic shock severity”, which won the main poster section of Colours of Sepsis. “Our projects have long focused on the study of sepsis and septic shock, where the immune system plays a crucial role in their development and subsequent course. We are looking at functional changes in cells of innate immunity, especially monocytes and neutrophils. We have been able to show that patients with a poor prognosis have strongly altered functions of innate immunity. We are able to detect these changes already at the time of admission to the intensive care unit. The early analysis could help in the future to select patients who do not respond to conventional treatment and are therefore candidates for personalized treatment.”
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Ludwig Boltzman Institute (LBI)
Ludwig Boltzman Institute (LBI) is a top-tier specialised Austrian center for critical/intensive care medicine (ICM) research. LBI Trauma is consistently rated as excellent (2010, 2015, 2020) by international evaluators. The primary objective of the LBI Trauma is to improve diagnostic and therapeutic measures in trauma/infection care. LBI regularly organises top-tier international congresses (e.g., the Wiggers-Bernard Conference for Modelling of Sepsis, TERMIS for tissue engineering, and European Shock Society). LBI is involved in several ongoing Austrian and European research projects and has received numerous international and national grants (including 5-7th Framework and 2020 EU grants, EUROSTARS, FWF-GENAU, FFG-Bridge, FFG-Comet, WWTF, LBF, Wings for Life, Nationalbank, OEAW; http://trauma.lbg.ac.at/en/about-us). The institute is at the forefront of bench-to-bedside research and has experimentally developed several diagnostic and/or treatment approaches now routinely employed in clinics. LBI experts regularly coordinate/participate in various ICM task forces (e.g., the Task Force for Coagulation) and create guidelines in the area of pre- and clinical intensive care research (e.g., 2023 Management of Perioperative Bleeding; 2018 MQTiPSS; 2017 Goal-directed Coagulation Management). The institute features a robust multidisciplinary environment composed of different research groups working in the fields of sepsis, shock, trauma, tissue regeneration, molecular biology, and imaging.
Universitätsklinikum Bonn (UKB) and Institute of Innate Immunity (III)
Universitätsklinikum Bonn (UKB) and Institute of Innate Immunity (III) are one of the best-evaluated medical centers in Europe. The UKB offers a diverse and rich research environment for immunology and has attracted numerous talented researchers from all over the world. This effort is reflected by the University’s status as an Excellence University in Germany and by the generous and continuous funding it receives from the Excellence Cluster ImmunoSensation. The Institute of Innate Immunity, which has renowned expertise in the field of innate immunity (https://www.iiibonn.de/) and inflammation, is equipped with cutting-edge instrumentation and facilities. Moreover, it is a hot spot for immunology in Europe, hosting groups working in areas such as structural biology and cellular immunology. The Institute of Innate Immunity is funded by grants from the European Research Council (ERC), and Germany’s Excellence Strategy (EXC 2151 – 390873048) from the DFG.
Centre d'Immuologie Marseille-Lumily (CIML)
Centre d'Immuologie Marseille-Lumily (CIML) situated within Aix Marseille University's multidisciplinary campus, is a premier immunology research institute, comprising 17 research teams, seven cutting-edge technology platforms, and 17 prestigious ERC grants. Its strong track record in high-quality research, 50 patented inventions, and numerous collaborations with esteemed institutions and private foundations underscore its dynamism and global impact. Emphasizing both scientific and medical vocations, the CIML expedites diagnostic and therapeutic advancements for patients, and has launched successful biotech companies such as Innate Pharma and Ipsogen. Collaborations with renowned institutions like Harvard Medical School, EMBL, and UCSF, as well as engagement in projects like PIA, EUROBIOMED, and the Marseille-Immunopole federation, further illustrate the institute's unwavering dedication to excellence. The CIML's state-of-the-art technology platforms, encompassing cytometry (featuring three 5-laser spectral flow cytometers, including Europe's first spectral sorter), bioinformatics, functional genomics, and imaging, firmly establish its status as a leading research institution in immunology and related disciplines.
Commenius University Bratislava (CU)
Commenius University Bratislava (CU) and Institute of Molecular Biomedicine (www.imbm.sk) is a research institute of the Faculty of Medicine at the Comenius University in Slovakia with the staff having a vast range of educational background – from molecular biology, biophysics, biotechnology or physiology, up to medicine. Institute is focused on the role of extracellular DNA (NETs) in variety pathologies including sepsis and has established several animal models that can be utilized in the research of systemic inflammation and its consequences. We believe that interdisciplinarity is a key scientific value and our partnerships extend to collaborating with clinicians in Slovakia and complementary research institutes all around the globe. IMBM will together with University Hospitals in Bratislava provide patient samples as well as the analysis of NETs.
Masaryk University Brno (MUNI)
Masaryk University Brno (MUNI) team consists from several departments included in BEATsep i) Department of Paediatric Infection Diseases, ii) Department of Paediatric Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine and iii) CEITEC Multimodal and Functional Imaging Laboratory (MAFIL) is one of the core facilities at the Central European Institute of Technology (CEITEC), Masaryk University. MAFIL is part of the national research infrastructure Czech-BioImaging as well as the European infrastructure Euro-BioImaging and provides access for a wide research community in the field of neuroimaging, brain mapping, and other magnetic resonance imaging applications. MAFIL has been involved in various international projects and consortia (including JPND projects, COST projects, Czech-Austrian bilateral projects, and H2020 RISE) and has provided services for more than 100 research projects with several thousands of MRI or EEG measurements since 2015. Both clinical teams are associated with Faculty Hospital Brno (FNB) which is a collaborating organisation of the project and an important patient sample provider.
National University of Ireland (NUI)
National University of Ireland (NUI) and the Lung Biology Cluster who will be conducting this research have interests in sepsis, lung injury, cell and gene therapies. NUI has received funding from the ERC, Health Research Board, Science Foundation Ireland and Irish Research Council as well as co-funded projects with industry partners in nebulisation, stem cell therapy and sepsis topics. NUI have an interest in development and application of novel technologies for organ support and therapeutic drug delivery in the critically ill and in the application of data analytic approaches to this population, with experience in ICU patient sample biobanking and flow cytometry and serum soluble factor quantification. NUI have initiated and become affiliated sites in a number of clinical trials for ARDS and sepsis and now for COVID-19. NUI have developed drugs from cell cultures testing, to preclinical animal models for first in man trials.
Assistance Publique-Hopitaux de Marseille (APHM)
Assistance Publique-Hopitaux de Marseille (APHM) represents top-tier French hospital with four emergency departments admitting around 109 intensive care unit (ICU) beds admitting around 5000 patients/year. For the proposed work, two adult ICUs (25 beds) and one paediatric ICU (15 beds) will be involved, representing yearly around 1800 adult patients and 100 adult patients with septic shock. The APHM team is focused on the biology of sepsis and septic shock documented by many high-impact factor publications.
BIOVARIANCE comprises pharma-experienced, professional management and a multidisciplinary team of specialists, which combines experience and expertise across technology, innovation, and the life science industry. BEATsep will directly benefit from the expertise of BioVariance, a SME with great experience in the development of comprehensive predictive models for the diagnosis of various diseases (e.g., colorectal cancer) or psychological consequences (such as depression). Moreover, BioVariance will prepare a simplified predictive tool to stratify patients based on their risk of developing PICS. This model could take the form of a risk score assigned to patients based on their immune-related marker profile and other relevant clinical factors.
National Institute of Health (SZU, “Státní zdravotní ústav”))
National Institute of Health (SZU, “Státní zdravotní ústav”)) Czech National Health Institute, works on health care establishment for preventive disciplines such as vaccinology, health promotion, nutrition, environmental sciences and for other topics of public health, with disease prevention and health promotion among the major tasks of institute. SZU concentrates the most important health problems including as epidemiological surveillance of severe infections. Our promotion of a healthy life styles and nutrition and in prevention of cardiovascular diseases, cancer, addictions. The Institute has experience in solving and participating in international projects, especially in EU funded projects such as European joint actions (JAHEE, JAMRAI, JATC2 and others).