The new COST project BIONECA connecting physical sciences with regenerative cardiology and neurology.
Fiori F., Giuliani A., Rustichelli F.
Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death in the western world. A progressively ageing population is increasingly affected by neurological diseases, which brings a negative impact on European economies with more than 1 billion euros cost per year. Faced with too slow and expensive progress in the development of new therapies, new approaches in the development of new therapeutic protocols are urgently needed. One of the most promising strategy is based on stem cell applications for cardiovascular and neurological diseases and on the employement of biomaterials for supporting cultivation and integration of stem cells in disease-affected tissues. On the basis of some experiments we performed in cooperation with cardiologists and neurologists, we conceived a project having the title $Biomaterials$ and advanced physical techniques for Regenerative Cardiology and $Neurology$ (BIONECA), which was written with several colleagues of different disciplines, and was approved by COST Organization. It started on March, 15 2017 and will last 4 years. At present 33 countries have joined BIONECA. The main goal of BIONECA is to establish an intensive interaction among top-level European Institutions of different scientific communities in order to induce significant progresses in Regenerative Cardiology and Regenerative Neurology with a consequent reduction of deaths and costs associated to brain and heart diseases. A way to fulfil the main goal is to proceed to an exchange of information, a networking activity and a process of mutual knowledge among scientists of the following disciplines: physics, chemistry, mathematics, informatics, biomaterials science, material engineering, nanotechnology, surface science, rapid prototyping, advanced imaging technology, cell biology, molecular biology, tissue engineering, regenerative cardiology and regenerative neurology. In order to achieve the COST ACTION objectives, four different Working Groups (WGs) will be established, with a strong interconnection among them: WG1: Processing of Biomaterials, aiming to improve the processing of biomaterials, taking into account the specific needs for applications in regenerative cardiology and neurology. WG2: Characterization and visualization of Biomaterials and Stem Cells, with use of advanced techniques, like microtomography and holotomography, based on X-Ray synchrotron radiation. WG3: Modelling, in order to obtain an integrated understanding of essential processes, which include nutrient transport and utilization, matrix formation, cell population dynamics, cell attachement and migration, and local cell-cell interaction. WG4: Stem Cells, Cardiology and Neurology, aiming to essential progresses in these disciplines, as a result of mutual interaction and exploitation of results produced in the other WGs.