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DI.V.A.L. TOSCANA is involved as SME in three research projects:

DESIRE (link)

"Development and Epilepsy - Strategies for Innovative Research to improve diagnosis, prevention and treatment in children with difficulty to treat Epilepsy"


Programme acronym: FP7-HEALTH
Subprogramme area: HEALTH.2013.2.2.1-4
Grant Agreement: 602531

DESIRE will focus on epileptogenic developmental disorders EDD, i.e. early onset epilepsies whose origin is closely related to developmental brain processes. A major cause of EDD are malformations of cortical development (MCD), either macroscopic or subtle. EDD are often manifested as epileptic encephalopathies (EE), i.e. conditions in which epileptic activity itself may contribute to severe cognitive and behavioural impairments. EDD are the most frequent drug-resistant pediatric epilepsies carrying a lifelong perspective of disability and reduced quality of life. Although EDD collectively represent a major medical and socio-economic burden, their molecular diagnosis, pathogenic mechanisms (PM) and rationale treatment are poorly understood. Specific objectives of DESIRE are to advance the state of the art with respect to: (1) the genetic and epigenetic causes and PM of EDD, particularly epileptogenic MCD, to elucidate molecular networks and disrupted protein complexes and search for common bases for these apparently heterogeneous disorders. (2) the diagnostic tools (biomarkers) and protocols through the study of a unique and well-characterized cohort of children to provide standardized diagnosis for patient stratification and research across Europe. (3) treatment of EDD using randomized, multidisciplinary clinical protocols and testing preclinical strategies in experimental models to also address novel preventative strategies.

The workplan spans from clinical observation, to whole exome studies, cellular and animal models and basic research, identification of biomarkers and improvement of diagnostic methods, and back to the clinical trials and assessment of innovative, targeted treatment strategies. The consortium partners have an outstanding track record in genetics, basic neurophysiology, neuropathology and clinical research. Specialized expertise will be made available by the SMEs involved to develop novel diagnostic tools for tailored treatment approaches.

DESIRE project is co-funded by the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Union.


"RAPID development of PHARMAceuticals by multi-modal in-vivo biodistribution quantification"


Programme acronym: ERANET Plus on "Photonic appliances for life sciences and health"
Funded under : FP7-ICT
Funding scheme: CSA - Coordination and support actions

The scientific goal of this project is to develop a novel hybrid fluorescence tomography platform for pre-clinical pharmaceutical testing and monitoring.

This will include novel software for hybrid optical imaging (FMT/µCT or FMT/MRI) data reconstruction and image analysis, as well as, novel fluorescent probes and animal models expressing near infrared reporter genes. 

Finally, we strive to apply our method to investigate several promising drug candidates in preclinical therapy studies. We strongly believe that this method for in-vivo biodistribution determination is the most sensible approach to characterize novel drugs where it will save money and time for pharmaceutical companies on early drug screening and provide deeper understanding of drugs’ biodistribution and kinetics monitoring. Therefore, we expect to provide highly sensitive drug biodistribution determination that will significantly improve clinical translation of novel drugs.

The RapidPharma project has received co-funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) and the Tuscany Region (Italy) through BiphotonicsPlus action.


"-OMICS application from solid to liquid biopsy for a personalized cancer therapy"


Programme acronym: PAR FAS 2007-2013
Call: FAS Salute 2014

The final goal of the OMITERC project, coordinated by the Azienda Ospedaliero Universitaria Careggi, is to integrate the clinical data of patients with “OMIC” data, gathered from the studies of the participating centers, to establish a pool of molecular markers able to identify subgroups of patients with different prognosis and early predictors of response to therapy.
DI.V.A.L. Toscana will be involved in OO2, in the activities for the production and validation of novel biotechnological tools to separate tumour cells from the whole tissue sample and to obtain tumour cell-enriched samples for further analyses.


"Molecule-to-man pain network"

Programme acronym: Research and Innovation
Call: Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (H2020-MSCA-ITN-2016)
Grant Agreement: 721841

Neuropathic pain affects 5% of the general population and 40% of patients with neurological diseases, and has a key role in the pathophysiology of cancer pain that affects up to 50% of patients in the early disease stage and 30% of survivors, causing an enormous social burden. Treatments are inadequate with less than 50% of patients achieving 50% of pain relief at best, while up to 30% of cancer pain patients experience insufficient analgesia. Signatures of individual susceptibility to pain and analgesic responsiveness are urgently needed to improve patients’ management. Such advances are expected to originate from integrated clinical, basic science and entrepreneurial research readily translating scientific findings into benefits for patients. To consolidate these aims, a new generation of scientists with wide knowledge in neuropathic pain, focused research skills and experience in the interaction with biotechnology companies is needed. The PAIN-Net programme, based on a highly innovative platform of training-through-research and strongly committed to such objectives, will support such talented and inspired early stage researchers. Their research projects, embedded in an advanced molecule-to-man pain network, will contribute to better understanding individual susceptibility to pain and analgesics responsiveness based on next generation sequencing, whole exome sequencing, epigenetics and pharmacogenomics studies, nociceptor and sodium channel functioning based on biophysics and proteomics studies, targeted analgesics based on high-throughput screening, targeted analgesic delivery based on encapsulated cell bioreactor implants, and to the development and extensive characterisation of the first knock-in mouse models of sodium channel-re
lated neuropathic pain based on the CRISP-Cas technology. Most of all, the PAIN-Net programme will offer the unique opportunity to enhance scientific capabilities and prepare to high level academic or private applied research career.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 721841.