NEW European Union COST ACTION on Aniridia co-chaired in Cologne

Kick-Off

ANIRIDIA-NET(https://aniridia-net.eu/) is a pan-European bottom-up network of researchers, ophthalmologist, trainees, aniridia patient organizations, industry and special interest groups funded by the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) program (link) to improve aniridia clinical management and promote innovative research and development of new alternatives for its diagnosis and treatment.

The COST Action runs from 2019-2023 and is chaired by Prof. Neil Lagali from Sweden and Prof. Claus Cursiefen from University of Cologne. It is a follow-up to our previous COST Action on Biocorneas (www.biocornea.eu ).

A heavy research focus is on the topics of stem cell research, corneal neovascularization and ocular surface reconstruction, all key aspects of FOR 2240.

The goals of ANIRIDIA-NET are therefore to:

• Build a large, inclusive EU network of ophthalmologists, scientists, trainees, aniridia patient organizations, industry, and special interest groups to create linkages and a rich training ground for a new generation of trainees;

• Improve aniridia management through evidence-based research, harmonized clinical protocols, pooling/sharing of samples and models, and consensus activities.

• Stimulate development of novel diagnostics and treatments for aniridia based on innovative research in regenerative medicine/stem cells, investigational drugs, gene therapy, tissue engineering, transplantation, etc.

COST (www.cost.eu) is the longest-running European framework supporting trans-national cooperation among researchers, engineers and scholars across Europe. COST aims to enable breakthrough scientific developments leading to new concepts and products, it thereby contributes to strengthening Europe’s research and innovation capacities. COST Actions offers scientists the opportunity to embark upon bottom-up, multidisciplinary and collaborative networks across all science and technology domains.

COST funding is based on Actions, which are networks of coordinated collaborations, to address the specialized issues being set forth by the Action. The Actions are led by a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the governments of the COST countries participating in the Action. COST is co administrated by the Department of Ophthalmology, University Hospital Cologne.