Greek National Node

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Greece has been involved in the ID-EPTRI project since the beginning with “ATHENA Research and Innovation Center in Information Communication & Knowledge Technologies” leading the Thematic Research Platform on “Paediatric Medicines Discovery”, and many research centers and Institutions participating also in the “Paediatric Biomarkers and Biosamples”, “Developmental Pharmacology” and “Paediatric Medicines Formulations” Thematic Research Platforms.

The Greeks respondents of the EPTRI WP3 surveys have expertise in “Paediatric Medicine Discovery” (43%) in haematology, immunology, infectious diseases, neurology and oncology, in “Paediatric Biomarkers and Biosamples” (14%) in haematology and oncology, and in “Paediatric Medicines Formulation and Medical Devices” (43%) in dermatology, infectious diseases, nutrition, ophthalmology and oncology.

Thanks to the involvement of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 3rd Department of Paediatrics, which is also leading the c4c National Hub in Greece, on the 20th of March 2020, EPTRI received the official support from the Greek Ministry of Health which has signed the letter of political support bearing the inclusion of EPTRI in the European Strategic Forum for Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) Roadmap 2021.

Moreover, EPTRI received the official support from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and from the National Center for Scientific Research “Demokritos” that signed the letter of support in 2020.

Many Greek Institutes have also signed the Memorandum of Understanding to develop the EPTRI Infrastructure and organise the research institutes into a National Node (the Greek Hub) to link the Greek scientific community to EPTRI.

The Greek Hub (EPTRI-GR) will be constituted by the following Institutions:

  • Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH): At the 3rd Department of Paediatrics, the research units (RUs) are involved in many paediatric therapeutic research areas as neonatal and paediatric intensive care, immunology, infectious diseases, cardiology, haematology, endocrinology, pulmonary diseases, respiratory diseases, and oncology. They study the pharmacokinetics in premature neonates, and older children, infants and children with severe infections, and the pharmacodynamics in children and infants. In addition, they search for appropriate biomarkers (immune factors, transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics) for pediatric diseases especially infections. At the Department of Pharmacy the research unit uses emerging technologies for the development of novel drug delivery systems for small and large bioactive molecules. In this context, the group is investigating the use of additive manufacturing approaches (2D and 3D printing technologies) and electrospinning in the fabrication of drug delivery systems and their pertinancy in personalizing drug dosing for different routes of adminsitration. An important aspect is the development and assesement of new carriers at the micro- and nanoscale with mucoadhesive properties using in vitro and ex vivo.

  • ATHENA Research and Innovation Center in Information Communication & Knowledge Technologies (ATHENA): At the Pharmaco-Informatic Unit, the computational work (e.g. modelling and simulation) is performed at all the stages of drug development from early discovery to pharmaceutical product, and at the application of pharmaceutical products to clinical practice (e.g. in oncology). The researchers also work on drug design, molecular simulations, in silico screening and use nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and NMR based metabonomic structural chemistry. The group has established specific calculation protocols used to design new molecules with desired biological activity. They have experience in the systematic studies of different pharmacological targets like kinases, nuclear receptors, epigenetic targets and in structural characterization of membrane transporters. The group is also involved in several metabolomic projects like characterization of metabolic responses to chemical exposure (e.g. hepatotoxicity and cardiotoxicity), and disease diagnosis (e.g. inborn error of metabolism and cancer). Moreover, they are engaged in experimental, theoretical and computational studies, drug-milk interactions and drug-milk formulations, but also on development of new metodology in pharmacometrics, clinical pharmacokinetics, and quantitative systems pharmacology.
  • Idryma Iatroviologikon Ereunon Akademias Athinon – Biomedical Research Foundation, Academy of Athens (BRFAA): BRFAA host both basic and clinical research, thus, providing an ideal setting for the emergence of translational activities. BRFAA is specialized in different aspects of Biomedical Research and focusing on gene regulation, stem cells, neurobiology, developmental biology, aging, cancer, inflammation, stress and metabolic syndromes, cardiovascular pathophysiology and environmental health issues. These research activities are being pursued in the context of the following Centers of: (1) Basic Research, (2) Clinical and Translational Research, and Experimental Surgery, (3) Systems Biology and (4) Environmental Health. Ongoing research programs include investigation of transcriptional mechanisms of STAT5 and other erythropoietic transcription factors in hematologic malignancies, erythropoiesis, development and aging, and elucidation of cardiac valves formation and functionality to support appropriate heart performance throughout the life. New model platforms as zebrafish are used and developed. Expertise in RNA-seq, ChIP-seq, protein complexes purification, proteomics-mass spectrometry exists. Research is also focused on identification, characterization and validation of biomarkers to be used as diagnostic, prognostic and predictive tools, but also as drug targets, developmental stage markers and safety markers in response to therapy. BRFAA is the central Greek node for biobanking and in the future paediatric biosamples will be included.
  • Centre for Research and Technology Hellas (CERTH): CERTH is one of the largest research centers in Greece with important scientific and technological achievements in many areas including: health, energy, environment, mechatronics, information & communication, transportation, agro-technology, as well as several cross-disciplinary scientific areas. It is a legal entity governed by private law with non-profit status, supervised by the General Secretariat for Research and Technology (GSRT) of the Greek Government. CERTH is currently involved in research on a) analytical, experimental, and in-silico modeling and simulations for biomedical engineering applications with a focus to understand the role of mechanics in biological systems along multiple length scales-from the level of the whole body to the level of a tissue cell, b) the biomechanics of human movement and its clinical applications, and c) data-driven uncertainty quantification associated with simulations of complex systems, aiming at discovering new therapeutic treatments for musculoskeletal dysfunctions or improving the existing ones.
  • National Center for Scientific Research “Demokritos” (NCSR-D): NCSR-D is the largest self-governing research organization, under the supervision of the General Secretariat for Research and Technology of the Greek Government. NCSR-D is participating with tits Artificial Intelligence laboratory SKEL (http://skel.iit.demokritos.gr) of its Institute of Informatics and Telecommunications. SKEL has significant experience on applying advanced methods from the areas of machine learning, data mining, knowledge representation and combination of heterogeneous data resources to biomedical and health data and developing and maintaining corresponding infrastructure. In this area, SKEL has been the coordinator of the BioASQ consortium, establishing the BioASQ series of challenges on large-scale biomedical semantic indexing and question answering over heterogeneous biomedical data resources. A challenge that promotes advancements in state-of-the-art solutions to the information access problem of biomedical experts. Additionally, SKEL is coordinating the H2020 project “IASIS: Integration and analysis of heterogeneous big data for precision medicine and suggested treatments for different types of patients“. SKEL is also pilot leader in H2020 project “BigMedilytics: Big Medical Analytics” and participates in ERA-PerMed “P4-LUCAT” project.
  • National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA): At the Departments of Paediatrics, the researchers have expertise in oncology, neurology, musculoskeletal, nutrition, genetic, infectious diseases, endocrinology, cardiology, vascular diseases, haematology, respiratory and pulmonary diseases. The research units study the paediatric developmental mechanism relevant in immunology (e.g. asthma) and oncology (e.g. thyroid cancer and leukaemia). They perform genetic studies to discover variants in immunoregulatory genes associated to childhood lymphomas, genotype and phenotype studies and characterization variants in Diamond-Blackfan anemia. The genetic approaches are also used to genotyping rotavirus and to perform studies on the causes of diabetes mellitus in neonatal and pharmacometrics in the different age groups, in different diseases and in different ethnic groups. They also study neuromuscular diseases and celiac diseases. They use pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamics modelling to study the effects of specific drugs. Moreover, they use biomarkers (e.g. MicroRNA) as diagnostic, prognostic and predictive tools in childhood diseases.
  • University of Patras (UPAT): At the Department of Paediatrics, the researchers are involved in several research areas as dermatology, infectious diseases, ophthalmology, oncology, nutrition, endocrinology, immunology, pulmonary diseases, respiratory diseases, and neonatal and intensive care. They study paediatric mechanisms in immunology (e.g. asthma), hormonal regulation (e.g. infancy growth and bone growth impairment) and endocrinology (e.g. types 1 diabetes mellitus and hypothyroidism). They also perform genetic study which aim is to identify new gene mutations involved in child diseases. At the Department of Pharmacy, the research unit perform research on conventional type of active pharmaceutical ingredient (e.g. cytotoxics and antibiotics) and biologics (e.g. proteins, vaccines, RNA, DNA and genes). They develop liquid, semi-solid and powder solutions, but also nanoparticles, microparticles and liposomes. They use also in vitro models and in vitro drug tests for pharmacopoeial, cytotoxicity (cell viability) and formulation effective concentration, and animal models (as mouse) to conduct their research on cancer and drugs.
  • Greek Patients’ Association (GPA): GPA is the confederation of more than 45 patient associations from all over Greece and the whole range of therapeutic categories. It was established in May 2019, with the aim of defending the rights of health care recipients, equal participation of patients in the formulation and implementation of policies for them and their contribution to the promotion of public health and reaserch. Since March 2020, the Association has been a member of the European Patients Forum, the European umbrella organization of national and regional patient confederations. Since the patient voice is a critical aspect in c4c, GPA will be invited to join the Greek National Node.
  • “95” Rare Aliance Greece (RAG): The Hellenic Alliance for Rare Patients is a newly established Association, and a member of Eurordis, based in Athens, with the goal to support Rare Patients in Greece. In particular, it is an initiative of Rare Patients, and Parents of children with a rare disease, with extensive experience in claiming the rights of sufferers both nationally and Europeanly, with the aim of educating and empowering patients to acquire sufficient knowledge and skills, and to better understand their role in order to achieve active participation. their decisions and actions concerning their health and rights.