OSTEONET proposes an innovative, bioinspired, and integrated approach to the development of engineered bone
tissues mimicking healthy and aged bone that will be used in bioreactors as in vitro bone models for preclinical
drug screening and basic physiology studies. Expertise in all required complementary disciplines is gathered
in the Consortium. An intensive and effective exchange of materials, methods, devices, information and
researchers will ensure that the approach towards construct engineering and bioreactor development is truly
bioinspired, integrates contributions from many disciplines in synergic fashion, and is sustainable. An extensive
secondment, transfer of knowledge and training programme will ensure that the developed culture systems
are easy-to-use, do not require clumsy conventional incubators, and that a new generation of biotechnological and
medical users is trained for understanding the relationship between device design and operating conditions and
the actual microenvironment needed by the cells.
To reach this ambitious goal, an international, inter-sectoral, and multidisciplinary network of organisations will
work on this joint programme in the framework of the HORIZON-MSCA-SE-2021.
The participants will exchange competence and knowledge which will allow them to improve their key skills in
the use of wet-lab and IT at the frontier of scientific research to exploit them for the design and optimization of
effective drugs for the treatment of bone pathologies. This will also substantially strengthen collaborative research
between different countries and production sectors.
The staff members taking part in the Project will develop new skills and will be exposed to new research
environments, which will broaden up their career perspectives. Moreover, the high intersectoral and
multidisciplinary integration philosophy of the Project will expose partners to new areas of both basic and applied
research. This will broaden their competence and will open their vision towards novel applications of the
technologies that they already master.


OSTEONET aims to (i) build a multidisciplinary research network involving experts of technical and medical disciplines to merge their expertise and exploit possible synergies for the development of reliable and sustainable 3D in vitro cell models of healthy and aged bone tissue and (ii) train a cohort of scientists and technologists in exploiting the model features to increase knowledge on the effects of ageing on bone biology and mechanobiology, and on bone response to drugs, to leverage the use of 3D cell models in clinics and basic/industrial research labs.
Bone ageing reduces the quality of life of the elderly and puts social and economic burden on society. Ageing bones fail more easily when challenged mechanically or with toxicants or pollutants, and respond differently to drugs than healthy bone. To personalize therapies and enable better preventive care for the elderly it is essential to develop reliable and sustainable in vitro models of aged bone tissue alternative to animal tests which often fail to capture human-specific features. Several scientific studies support the idea that in vitro models of bone tissue are an outstanding resource for (i) the comprehension of bone physiology, (ii) a better understanding of pathological pathways in most bone dysfunctions, (iii) testing new or repurposed drugs for bone treatment before preclinical trials with animal models.
The networking activities planned in OSTEONET will unravel and share knowledge on the mechanisms driving the information transfer from the biochemical and biomechanical levels, which drive osteosynthesis and osseointegration, to the cascade of molecular and cellular events emerging as an elaborated and physiological bone, and on the mechanisms of the different response of healthy and aged bone tissue to mechano-biological stimuli and drugs.


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