for the public

The incidence of non-communicable diseases, such as cancer, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative pathologies has rapidly increased the last two decades in Greece due to higher life expectancy and changes in life style, putting significant pressure on the National health care budget and medical services. It is thus essential to assist the development of new innovative, cost-effective technologies, products and treatment options for patients. Indeed, translating research for human health represents one of the biggest challenges and top priorities for European medical research and is the main objective of the seventh framework program of the EC.

Promising ideas for novel therapeutic interventions may encounter bottleneck ie. interventions may encounter bottlenecks in bench-to-bedside testing. While translation is sometimes facilitated by public-private partnerships, therapies for uncommon disorders or novel ideas do not always succeed in attracting private sector investment. Where private sector capacity is limited or not available, public resources can bridge the gap between discovery and clinical testing so that more efficient translation of promising discoveries may take place. A stronger public research infrastructure could thus strengthen and accelerate this critical part of the clinical research enterprise.

In the region of Crete there has been a concerted effort over the last 25 years to create a scientific environment which will nurture the 'renaissance' of science in Greece, based on merit and scientific excellence. Central to the success of this strategy of regeneration of science in Greece, is the ability to attract talented researchers and offer state-of-the-art facilities and modern equipment. One of the aims of TransPOT is to work to protect and improve human potential in this EU region by offering competitive salaries to experienced researchers, advanced training for all staff and purchase of modern equipment. TransPOT could therefore have an immediate impact on improving human resources and reversing the "brain-drain" at the local and National level. The University of Crete Medical School, together with the near-by Institute for Molecular Biology & Biotechnology (IMBB) of Foundation of Research & Technology Hellas, at present orchestrate some of the best molecular biology and biomedical research in the country. Researchers working at UOC compete globally to publish the results of their work at the forefront of research, despite the difficulties they face from being geographically located at the periphery of Europe and having scarce national funding.

Translational research is now recognized as an essential way to push forward cutting edge lab research into new strategies for treating disease. At present most research institutions are unable to focus on translational research and they lack essential close links between research laboratories and hospital clinics. TransPOT aims to overcome this obstacle by bringing together critical aspects of translational research and supporting this initiative through state-of-the-art equipment run by well-trained 'core' personnel. Additionally, building close interactions with hospital units involved in clinical studies is hoped to provide the ideal environment for fruitful interdisciplinary cooperation in the area of translational medical research.

TransPOT will increase the regional research potential of Greece and help to raise its profile within Europe as a serious contender for subsequent scientific research proposals. Importantly, it will also develop opportunities for collaboration with the European biotechnology/pharmaceutical industry, thus exposing the regional scientific community to technology and commercial aspects of research.
We therefore anticipate that the TransPOT infrastructure will benefit the region of Greece at multiple levels:

a) by improving research capacity,
b) improving the training of scientists at all career levels;
c) improving the quality of healthcare,
d) enhancing interactions with the pharmaceutical industry and biotechnology sector.

It is anticipated that the support of Transpot will therefore bring much needed multiple educational, scientific and financial benefits to the region.

Genomics Lab
The award of the TransPOT grant has allowed us to acquire a state-of-the-art laser capture microdissection system and a robotic real-time PCR system for mid and high-throughput analyses. Trained personnel funded by TransPOT ensure the professional use of this equipment and aids users to optimize their experiments when using the facilities.
GMP Cell Therapy Unit
The GMP cell processing unit consists of four positive air-pressure modular clean-rooms covering a total surface of 35m2 inside the main building of the Medical School.
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Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) School of Medicine, University of Crete School of Medicine, University of Crete