Spinverse supported the ENDOTARGET consortium to secure EU funding of 7 M€ to study the role of systemic endotoxemia as driver of chronic inflammation in arthritis

The EU has awarded funding of 7 M€ to an international consortium led by Helsinki University Hospital (HUS) to study the significance of gut microbiota as a driver of chronic systemic inflammation and the role of microbiota in the pathogenesis of rheumatic diseases. An additional 1,8 M€ has been granted by the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI). Spinverse supported the consortium in the proposal preparation. The ENDOTARGET project will start in January 2023.


Aiming to reduce inflammation and prevent health-to-disease transition

The EU main call objective was to develop a personalized blueprint to reduce chronic inflammation and to prevent health-to-disease transition.

“In this project, we aim to explore the relationship between gut microbiota, intestinal permeability, and systemic endotoxemia. Further we aim to understand their role as drivers of disease onset and disease activity in rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and spondyloarthritis. The findings of the four-year research consortium may lead to the identification and development of novel preventive and therapeutic approaches,” says ENDOTARGET project leader, Professor Kari Eklund from HUS.

The HUS-led consortium studies will include cohort and register studies, cell molecular functional studies, clinical and diet intervention studies in the rheumatic diseases.

“Moreover, by combining all this data, a machine learning (ML) and AI-informed rheumatic disease prediction tool (RDPT) will be developed for clinicians to help them identify patients with increased risk of developing the target diseases,” concludes Eklund.

Empowering patients to better manage their health

The ENDOTARGET-consortium will also empower citizens and patients to be able to manage better their own physical health and well-being by testing a new evidence-based model linking nutrition knowledge, termed “Clinical culinary”, and application of dietary strategies to health promotion and reduction of disease activity of rheumatic diseases.

Apart from HUS, the Consortium consists of several leading European research organizations, such as the University of Helsinki, and research groups from Switzerland, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Austria, and Estonia. The consortium also includes industry partners, specialized in bioinformatics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and communications.

Spinverse contributed to the success of the funding application

Spinverse experts provided their expertise on the complex funding process and consortium building to secure successful outcome of the proposal. Professor Kari Eklund from HUS says: “The help of Spinverse was invaluable in the preparation of the grant application. Spinverse helped with creating the budget, with feeding the text into the system and in creating figures and finalizing the text. They truly wanted the application to succeed and worked very hard to achieve this goal.”

Consultant Renuka Natarajan from Spinverse acted as the project manager for the funding application process. She concludes: “We expect the future outcomes of this project to make a significant impact on the lives of patients suffering from rheumatic diseases as the project aims to predict and prevent the health-to-disease transition of individuals. This project may also bring about new spin-off EU projects that can be applied to various research areas. There is also potential for new research-to-market strategies.”

The ENDOTARGET Consortium:

Coordinator HUS Helsinki University Hospital (Finland),

University of Helsinki (Finland), University of Tartu (Estonia), University of Campania “L. Vanvitelli” (Italy), University of Lisbon (Portugal), Galician Health Service (SERGAS) (Spain), Fundación Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria de Santiago de Compostela (FIDIS is an affiliated entity of SERGAS), Technical University of Vienna (Austria), Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) (Switzerland), Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics (Switzerland), Biomedical Research Institute of Salerno (Italy), NEC Laboratories Europe GmbH (Germany), Steinbeis 2i GmbH (Germany).