Our work

EU projects

TNO collaborates with pharmaceutical companies and (academic) research institutes in EU projects to combine knowledge and expertise on a variety of health-related topics. 


Cardiovascular disease (CVD) affects the heart and surrounding blood vessels and can take many forms, such as high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, heart disease and stroke. CVD is a growing medical problem globally (17.3 million deaths from CVD in 2008 predicted to rise to 23.6 million in 2030). In the EU, CVD is the second leading cause of death, accounting for 40% of reported deaths (2 million per year). The disease develops slowly (it can take 20 to 30 years to show symptoms) and the availability of clinical samples and translational models is limited. This has hampered the identification of drug targets and the development of effective therapies. Through CarTarDis, a multi-partner public/private consortium, TNO aims to accelerate the identification of novel CVD drug targets with a high level of clinical relevance. By combining unique expertise among 13 partners in eight countries, CarTarDis will help to advance the potential for life-saving CVD drug developments throughout Europe.

CarTarDis focuses particularly on drugability assessment of a candidate target, e.g. whether a target protein contains a binding cleft for a drug. This is an imperative step in the pharmaceutical process, but one that is rarely attempted in academic association studies. CarTarDis increases the chance for successful clinical development of novel therapies in CVD by combining:

  • Independent and large-scale population studies from which novel drug targets with strong correlation to clinical phenotypes are deduced,
  • High quality human bio-banks to confirm molecular relevance of selected targets in diseased cardiovascular tissues,
  • Translational disease-mimicking models to mechanistically validate selected targets, among which the ApoE3Leiden model that TNO has employed for more than 10 years,
  • A stringent pharmaceutical drug discovery process for prioritisation of drugable targets.

In many cases, cardiovascular association studies have focussed on identifying the underlying mechanism of disease and/or clinically relevant biomarkers, but not on identification of novel drug targets. Moreover, clinical material is lacking either in quality or in number, whereas preclinical models to mechanistically investigate candidate targets are insufficiently translational to the clinic. The CarTarDis project brings together and applies unique expertise and resources within its multi-partner consortium to discover and validate novel therapeutic targets to cardiovascular disease. The project has a strong pharmaceutical workflow in which human cardiovascular cohorts, clinical bio-banks, preclinical models are combined with pharmaceutical expertise to yield validated targets to which novel CVD medicines can be developed.
For more information please contact Dr. Roy Montijn - roy.montijn@tno.nl.


Osteoarthritis is one of the most prevalent chronic health problems affecting hundreds of millions of people worldwide. To provide osteoarthritis patients with the proper care, the field is in need of biomarkers for early detection of the disease. Within the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Union, 11 European partners, including TNO, have joined forces to fulfil this need and improve the detection and treatment of the disease.

The D-BOARD consortium aims to focus on the identification, validation and qualification of new combination biomarkers and the development of diagnostic tests capable of subclinical disease diagnosis. TNO's role in the consortium is to identify biomarkers using a metabolomics and lipidomics approach for early diagnosis of OA patients and to investigate their use as prognostic and stratification tools.

With project D-BOARD, TNO and the consortium partners will advance and improve detection and treatment of osteoarthritis. The eleven European partners, including universities, research organisations and SMEs, have joined together to make great strides in the fight to find better detection and treatment options. Through systematic dissemination of the information and data gathered, D-BOARD will share its findings with the greater medical community, for the advancement of all. In symposia, peer-reviewed publications, conferences, online and print materials, D-BOARD will share its progress and address the worldwide need for better information. This collaborative effort is simply the latest in TNO's long history of projects aimed at improving the health and well being of those suffering from debilitating diseases.


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