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Tendon injuries account for a considerable share of musculoskeletal pathologies as it is estimated that over 30 million human tendon-related procedures are taking place annually worldwide. Up to now, the most used tendon therapeutic strategies are based on application of autografts and allografts, presenting several disadvantages as they require a second surgical procedure that can lead to infection and chronic pain in the harvest site, as well as donor site morbidity. These strategies have poor clinical outcomes, given that tendon tissue does not fully recover its functionality, leading to high re-injury rates, pain and reduced quality of life. Tissue engineering strategies, stem cell based therapies, nanomedicine and molecular based therapies are being increasingly studied in order to create alternative, successful and cost effective treatments for these disorders.
The Achilles project is led by 3Bs Research Group from University of Minho (UMinho). UMinho will partner with two internationally leading research institutions: the Experimental Trauma Surgery, Department of Trauma Surgery from University Hospital Regensburg in Germany (UHREG), and the Regenerative, Modular & Developmental Engineering Laboratory (REMODEL) from National University of Ireland Galway in Ireland (NUIG). In addition, in the scope of this project, UMinho will collaborate with the Rehabilitation Medicine Research Center from Mayo Clinic in the USA (MAYO).
In Greek mythology, Achilles was a hero, leader of the fierce Myrmidons and a main character of the Trojan war. After birth, he was made immortal by his mother, yet, as legend tells, his heel remained mortal flesh, latter leading to Achilles’ downfall. The Achilles project reflects the weaknesses in specific areas of expertise that the Project coordinator (UMinho) envisions to overcome through the twinning process in order to advance the field of tissue engineering to develop regenerative medicine therapies for tendon regeneration.
The main goal of Achilles is to significantly strengthen the science and technology capacity of UMinho in biophysics, cell/molecular biology and genetics/gene therapy in order to achieve global scientific excellence and competitiveness for the translation of advanced therapies/ tendon tissue engineering strategies to treat tendon injuries/diseases. At the same time, Achilles also aims at positioning the research profile of UMinho and its staff in an outstanding international research level. Achilles will focus in defined areas in which UMinho shows a less scientific knowledge and are well-complemented by UHREG/NUIG/MAYO.
High-throughput screening techniques
02 | 03 July 2020 (postponed due to COVID-19)
more info soon
Gene therapy and clinical applications
08 | 09 October 2020 (postponed due to COVID-19)
more info soon
Tendon biophysical environment
04 | 05 November 2019
Molecular and biological mechanisms of tendon homeostasis and repair
08 | 10 July 2019
Prof. Manuela E. Gomes
Prof. Rui L. Reis
Dr. Manuel Gomez-Florit
Dr. Ana I. Gonçalves
Ana Guerra (Secretariat)
Prof. Dr. Denitsa Docheva
Prof. Dr. Peter Angele