Neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease, are a major public health issue given the aging population in Europe and beyond. While curative pharmacological treatment of these diseases is not in sight, cell replacement therapies (CTs) are considered very promising. However, a fundamental challenge in the medical application of CTs in the brain of patients lies in the lack of control of cell behaviour at the site of transplantation, and particularly their differentiation and oriented growth. This challenge will be tackled by the MAGNEURON project.
The aim of MAGNEURON is to introduce a fundamentally new concept for remote control of cellular functions by means of magnetic manipulation. The technology is based on magnetic nanoparticles functionalized with proteins involved in cellular signalling cascades. These bio-functionalized MNPs (bMNPs) will be delivered into target cells, where they act as intracellular signalling platforms activatable in a spatially and temporally controlled manner by external magnetic fields.
By the end of the project, MAGNEURON will have reached a conceptual and practical expertise for the magnetic control of signalling activity in cells, with a demonstrated proof-of-concept for the differentiation and growth of stem cell derived neuronal cells in cultures, tissues and animals.
To achieve their ambitious goal, MAGNEURON have gathered an interdisciplinary consortium of six partners with highly complementary expertise in Physical-Chemistry, Bio-chemistry, Biophysics, Nanosciences, Neurosciences, Regenerative medicine, and Project management.