The position is funded by the Horizon 2020 programme of the European Union with PMSMatTrain (H2020-MSCA-ITN-2018) under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Initial Training Network and Grant Agreement No. 813263. The project focuses on gaining a comprehensive understanding of the progressive phase of multiple sclerosis from basics to translation, fully supported by eight beneficiaries (six research institutions and two SMEs). This multidisciplinary network will educate and train 15 Early Stage Researchers. Programme fellows will experience both public and private sector research & development training and will be best placed to secure employment as high calibre, innovative and well-trained graduates.
Early phases of the autoimmune neurodegenerative disorder multiple sclerosis (MS) are quite well controlled by several potent anti-inflammatory drugs. However, drugs able to initiate neuronal repair constitute an unmet need, especially for progressive forms of multiple sclerosis. We have recently discovered that our molecule of long-term interest, a proliferation inducing ligand from the TNF superfamily (APRIL, TNFSF13) is selectively expressed in all types of MS lesions, and harbors a new binding partner in the central nervous system (CNS), the chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan (CSPG) (Baert et al., Annals of Neurology, 2019). Chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans (CSPG) are well known to impair spontaneous neuroregeneration following brain injuries. The project will aim at testing whether APRIL may behave as an antagonist of CSPG, thus initiating neuronal repair in MS.