REDPRION is launched, a project to reinforce the control of human and animal prion diseases on both sides of the Pyrenees

A consortium consisting of five research centers and two companies from France and Spain launches the REDPRION cross-border Pyrenean project, worth € 2 million to develop innovative diagnostic tools and to identify therapeutic compounds for patients affected by a prion disease.

From the IRTA-CReSA we collaborate in the consortium of the hand of the group of Dr. Martí Pumarola, UAB carrying out studies of transmissibility of prions between species through bioassays in transgenic mouse models in the facilities of the animal facility within the level 3 biosecurity unit and in PRIOCAT laboratory, adapted to work with these non-conventional infectious agents. Dr. Enric Vidal, responsible for the prion diseases research line of IRTA-CReSA, will carry out these bioassays.

On February 21, the project kick-off meeting was held at the Center for Encephalopathies and Emerging Communicable Diseases of the University of Zaragoza. Representatives of the seven partner entities of the project atended the meeting: L’Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA Toulouse), Asociación Centro de Investigación Cooperativa en Biociencias de Bizkaia (CiC-bioGUNE), Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona (UAB), Universidad de Barcelona (UB), L’Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche (INSERM Toulouse), ATLAS Molecular Pharma S.L. and Universidad de Zaragoza (Unizar).

Group photo of those attending the project kick-off meeting.

The objective of this project is the creation of a scientific network of excellence in the field of prion diseases. These neurodegenerative diseases affect both the livestock of the Franco-Spanish transboundary area and its human population and there is no reliable treatment or ante-mortem diagnostic test for its detection. The transmission of animal prions to humans (zoonoses) through the consumption of contaminated food remains a concern for European health authorities.

Thus, the project aims to coordinate activities and combine the specific skills of research centers, large hospital centers and private partners in the cross-border region in order to protect people from the risks associated with prion diseases, develop therapeutic approaches and innovative diagnostic tools intended for use in patients affected by a prion disease and ensure the sustainability of ruminant production in the transboundary region, given the risk of prion agents in the agri-food field.

In addition, the project will contribute to improving the management of Public Health and Animal Health in the region, by informing the responsible parties and professionals in charge of solutions and innovations in the field of prevention of the risks associated with these diseases. to the actors involved in the production chains and to the public in general.

The project will last 3 years and has been co-financed at 65% by the European Regional Development Fund (FEDER) through the Interreg V-A Spain-France-Andorra Program (POCTEFA 2014-2020). The objective of the POCTEFA is to reinforce the economic and social integration of the border area Spain-France-Andorra. Its support focuses on the development of cross-border economic, social and environmental activities through joint strategies in favor of sustainable territorial development. Project co-financed by the FEDER fund.

About the author of this post:

Investigador del subprograma de malalties exòtiques. Laboratori PRIOCAT - SESC (Suport a Escorxadors) - Diagnòstic TBC. enric.vidal@irta.cat