EU’s ageing population to benefit from better diagnosis and treatment tools

The EU-funded TERPAGE project has optimised therapeutic treatments and diagnostic devices to better meet the needs of an ageing population, especially in regions where life expectancy exceeds the European norm, such as in Italy’s Marche region.

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The TERPAGE project optimises therapeutic treatments and diagnostic devices to better meet the needs of an ageing population. © Diatheva The TERPAGE project optimises therapeutic treatments and diagnostic devices to better meet the needs of an ageing population. © Diatheva

" The project led to the development of kits and analytical assays for the characterisation of genetic polymorphisms, whose analysis will enable clinicians to provide personalised treatment to patients with solid intestine tumours. It also developed a medical device for delivering Dexamethasone that has been optimised for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, along with a prototype kit for the early detection of breast-cancer-related tumour biomarkers. "

Mauro Magnani, Professor of Biochemistry and Director Section of Biotechnology at the University of Urbino, and co-founder of Diatheva s.r.l.

Advances in medical knowledge and diagnostic technologies have enabled healthcare providers to move away from a population-based, or one-size-fits-all, medicine towards a more personalised approach to treatment. As a result, patients can now benefit from better, faster and more cost-effective treatment.

With this shift in mind, the TERPAGE project set out to identify – and develop – a range of diagnostic tools to enable clinicians to provide more patient-specific pathology management. This included developing kits, for example, to detect genetic polymorphisms related to the pharmacogenetics of colorectal cancer; detect early tumour biomarkers for the diagnosis of breast cancer; and to deliver drugs for the effective treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Better quality of life

The prolonged life expectancy in Italy’s Marche region, and in Europe in general, increases the need for dedicated, more effective treatments for cardiovascular ailments, cancers and lower respiratory tract diseases that predominately affect the elderly. 

Thanks to the 12 new, innovative and cost-effective diagnostic kits and medical devices developed by the TERPAGE project, diagnosing and treating these diseases has become more effective than ever. 

Market ready

All the dozen products developed by the project are geared towards either providing early diagnosis or to administering drugs. For instance, one of the diagnosis-related products can highlight 129 different single nucleotide polymorphisms of 58 different genes – simply by using just one diagnostic system. Using this capability, medical professionals can provide personalised treatment to patients with, for example, solid intestine tumours. Furthermore, on the diagnostic side, the project developed four kits capable of providing more precise analytical-predictive diagnosis in the same patients. 

As to administering drugs, one new medical device created by the ERDF-funded TERPAGE project team optimises the delivery of Dexamethasone for the treatment of COPD.  

Prototypes for all these products have been developed, and numerous clinical trials are under way. Ten of the devices have already advanced to production and market distribution. 

Total investment and EU funding 

Total investment for the project “TERPAGE - Integrated Project for the Design of Innovative Diagnostic and Therapeutic Medical Devices, for a Customised Treatment of the Most Diffused Diseases Among Elder Population (Ascoli Piceno)” is EUR 1 773 711, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 746 664 through the “Marche” Operational Programme for the 2007-2013 programming period.

Draft date