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Q: NMP.2013.2.2-1 Biomaterials for Advanced Therapies and Medical Devices in the neurological/neuromuscular or cardiovascular fields Question:
The call clearly mentions “muscular dystrophy” as a disease. However it is not clear why muscular dystrophy may be appropriate for biomaterials research.
Regenerative medicine is well applicable to muscle dystrophy (stem cell therapy) but if this is the clue, biomaterial is intended to be stem cell therapy.
Can nanoconstructs (nanomaterials, nanoparticles, nanotubules) engineered with drugs such as antisense oligonucleotides or viral vector (gene therapy),or peptides, or cell, or combinations of these, be considered appropriate as “biomaterial” usable for muscular dystrophy new therapies?
A: The Call for Proposals clearly mentions muscular dystrophy as a disease, which could be the focus for this topic in New Materials. Indeed, this condition is cited as just one example of many that are suitable for this type of research in either the neurological or cardiovascular fields in general, the short list given in the text not being exhaustive or exclusive in nature.
As stated, regenerative medicine is applicable to muscular dystrophy, in its capacity as an Advanced Therapy as defined by the relevant Regulation 1394/2007. The purpose of this topic is to develop appropriate biomaterials (and only biomaterials) that will form a part of an eventual Advanced Therapy or a Medical Device. There is no restriction on what form the biomaterial might take. A Biomaterial is any substance (other than a drug), synthetic or natural, that can be used as a system or part of a system that treats, augments, or replaces any tissue, organ, or function of the body, especially, material suitable for use in prostheses that will be in contact with living tissue. Nanomaterials are defined (by Commission Recommendation 2011/696/EU) as natural, incidental or manufactured materials containing particles, in an unbound state or as an aggregate or as an agglomerate and where, for 50 % or more of the particles in the number size distribution, one or more external dimensions is in the size range 1 nm-100 nm. It is of course therefore possible to have overlap between the two, hence the terms nanobiotechnology and bionanotechnology.
For the purposes of this topic, the extent of that overlap would be the determining factor in whether the proposed research is within the scope of the Call. There would need to be a primary focus on the development of the biomaterial per se as opposed to the nano-form (tubules, spheres, impregnated with drugs, etc.) that it might eventually assume. The various nanoconstructs referred to above would have to be of biological origin (natural or synthetic) and be the biological adjuncts that facilitate the operation of the eventual Advanced Therapy(ies) for the treatment of Muscular Dystrophy. Items such as ligands (based on RNA, DNA, peptides etc) appear to fulfil this definition. Issues such as structure, functionalisation etc. would be expected to be characterised as part of the research so as to determine their ultimate usefulness in the intended applications.

Category : Industrial technologies ( Calls for proposals ) , Nanosciences, Materials, Production (NMP) ( Materials , Calls for proposals )