Research Program

The goal of PIANO is to identify involved DRG by visualising cells or molecules in the DRG, which are directly or indirectly associated with the generation of pain. A vast amount of neuropathic pain studies have shown a considerable infiltration of macrophages into affected DRG. The approach of the consortium has been to design cutting-edge work packages and ESR projects.

The objectives of PIANO are as follows:
  • Complete 15 ESR research projects addressing three key research challenges:
    • Use of nanotechnology to image and treat chronic pain in vivo;
    • Target such structures in the form of nanocarriers towards pain-associated cells or molecules in the dorsal root ganglia (DRG);
    • Promote their translation towards clinic using the overall concept to monitoring the efficacy of various pain treatments.

  • Provide local and network-wide training through intra- and intersectoral secondments for a new generation of researchers. This is to be achieved through individual research projects, which share the same challenges of how to tackle pain diagnosis, therapy, and the subsequent monitoring of its efficacy using nanotechnology.

  • Adopt an interdisciplinary and intersectoral approach through the composition of the consortium and the associated partners to bring neurophysiology, imaging, data analysis, nanomaterials, molecular biology, and pain mechanisms and their pathways together.

  • Create and combine an efficient network of nanotechnologists and pain researchers from academia and industry, working closely together towards the success of PIANO.

The research methodology and the approach of PIANO are as follows: Our proposal has a simple organizational structure to facilitate communication and procedures without affecting the effectiveness in reaching its goal. Its structure consists of 4 work packages (WPs) , which are centred on the 4 main ETN pillars, which make the realization of PIANO possible:
  • Training (WP1),
  • Research (WP2),
  • Dissemination (WP3)
  • Management (WP4).

Having one single Lead beneficiary in charge of the WP3 Dissemination (UCAM) and one for WP4 Management (PERC) will allow a clear and transparent overview, coordination, and synchronisation of the joint efforts. Similarly, to implement the here proposed PIANO approach and guarantee cross-fertilization, the consortium has decided to have one global WP coordinating all individual research projects within WP2 and have jointdeliverables. This applies to the dissemination activities as well where some tasks will require teamwork from the part of the ESRs. The approach of the consortium has been to design cutting-edge ESR projects . We will outline the importance of nociceptive activity at the level of DRG and especially the need to unravel the molecular complexity and cellular heterogeneity so that our nanoparticles can be made to work optimally to image and, in the future, to treat chronic pain. The individual ESR projects are intersectoral and multidisciplinary and will employ, e.g. cell biology, biochemistry, imaging, immunology, neurosurgery, and several other disciplines, which will further help the cross-fertilization between them through exchange of knowledge, reagents, and protocols.

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EU Framework Program

Funded by the EU
This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 956477.