- Establish a European Glycoscience User Group (EU-GUG)
- Identify Common Scientific and Technical Challenges
- Establish a Common Vision, Roadmap for 2030 and an Associated Implementation Plan
- Through Knowledge Exchange Activities Facilitate the Formation of a Cross- Sectorial Glycoscience Metrology Platform
- Establish Parallel Initiatives to Address Key Glycoscience Challenges
Over the course of CarboMet we will build up a picture of the current provision in 3 Enabling Technology Areas across 4 BioIndustry Sectors.
CarboMet activities will facilitate engagement between key players and stakeholders in each Enabling Technology Area and BioIndustry Sector to ensure full engagement of the glycoscience community across Europe to identify the current state of the art and in particular future innovation and technological challenges in carbohydrate metrology.
- Website and online surveys
- Meetings and workshops including training workshops in advanced technologies
- Policy briefings and white papers
ENABLING TECHNOLOGY AREAS
There are a number of challenges in technological, manufacturing and regulatory aspects of carbohydrates, in particular in 3 Enabling Technology Areas which need to be addressed to ensure full exploitation of the opportunities identified.
1. Measurements and Analytical
Techniques for quantitative, structural characterisation of carbohydrates thus ensuring technical specifications for manufacturing and regulatory requirements are met.
2. Synthesis of Standards
Defining the range of standards and reference materials required, and their specifications, will present major synthetic challenges in their production.
3. Bioinformatics and Databases
To provide reference data, to understand the complex activity structure relationships of carbohydrates and to act as viable alternative tools for in vitro testing.
These have been identified as of immediate interest for CarboMet where the exploitation of carbohydrates will have huge impact:
1. Biopharmaceuticals including vaccines, antimicrobials, antibodies and hormones
The number of pharmaceuticals based on glycans, glycan targets and glycosylated products is rapidly increasing both in number and market share. Products such as heparin, cyclodextrin, carbohydrate-based vaccines, and vancomycin have been on the market for a long time. Recent examples include Tamiflu and Relenza, which were developed to treat the ‘bird flu’ virus. With the advent of biopharmaceuticals such as human erythropoietin and therapeutic antibodies, glycoconjugates will continue to increase. As the degree of molecular complexity increases so does the range of analytical techniques required. Glycosylated biopharmaceuticals such as glycoproteins provide particular challenges in R&D and quality control during production.
2. Diagnosis of disease at a personal level for the development of precision medicines
All cells, including human cells, have carbohydrates on their surface, known as the glycocalyx. This coating of glycolipids and glycoproteins controls a variety of fundamental biological processes, for example fertilization, immunology and infection. The makeup of the glycocalyx is sensitive to genetic mutations, changes in gene activation or silencing, or environmental and personal habit factors such as diet, alcohol consumption or smoking. This makes the glycocalyx a useful target for personalised medicine, including finding new disease biomarkers for diseases such as cancer, and for patient stratification during clinical trials. Novel instrumentation that can rapidly and accurately measure individual patient’s condition in real time are needed. There are also opportunities to develop lower-cost and better targeted products for the diagnostics market.
3. Healthy lifestyles from good food and personal care, including for healthy ageing
Sugars are important components of everyday foods and an understanding of polysaccharide production in plants is of the utmost importance for improved food security and production, including crop protection. The importance of sugars as dietary components and their nutritional value and potential in functional foods is becoming more and more apparent and they are increasingly being appreciated for their health giving effects for the benefit of society, reducing the burden on health services and improving quality of life.
4. Carbohydrates as the sustainable materials for the future
The development of sustainable biorenewables will facilitate the move towards a more sustainable bio-based chemicals industry. Natural polysaccharides such as cellulose, hemicellulose, starch, chitin and xyloglucan all have properties that make them useful for a variety of industrial applications. Their modification (chemical, mechanical, biological) can further expand their properties and functionalities. New analytical tools are required to support the generation of highly-defined innovative bio-based materials.