Benefits of establishing and developing of NUCBTR

NUCBTR development strategy

NUCBTR meets the requirements of the Europe’s Growth Strategy “Europe 2020” for the establishment of Center of Excellence in important areas of the country, including:

  • development of biobanking, “omix” technology and translational medical research 

  • promoting of cooperation between scientific structures, educational institutions and the business in order to developing of public-primacy partnership

  • ensuring of high level of ongoing scientific research and technological developments through human resources development and participation in international collaborations, projects and initiatives.

The strategy envisages targeting of financial resources and investment in human potential in areas in which Bulgaria has traditional success and significant achievements - including biomedical research

Among the most significant benefits from the development of NUCBTR are:

Development of biobanking in Bulgaria and inclusion of national infrastructures in the European initiative BBMRI-ERIC

NUCBTR is perfectly positioned to fulfill the role of a national center, uniting and coordinating the activities of the growing network of structures engaged in the collection, storage and analysis of biological materials. This will provide a basis for the development of national and international scientific consortia studying the genomic, epigenomic, proteomic and metabolic profiles of complex and rare diseases, as well as the factors contributing to the development or modulating the risk of their occurrence. The accession of Bulgaria in 2018 as a full member of BBMRI-ERIC, the European Scientific Infrastructure for Biobanking provided an opportunity to create a national hub in MMC, MU-Sofia and is a prerequisite for the development of a national network of biobanks.

The development of biomedical research, the encouragement of applied knowledge transfer and innovation

NUCBTR combines the resources of two of the leading institutions in medical education and research in Bulgaria, Medical University - Sofia and Medical University - Plovdiv. This makes it the center with the highest potential for creating a common framework for improving inter-institutional and interdisciplinary collaborations with other medical faculties and universities, as well as for stimulating translational research.

The main focus of NUCBTR will be:
The introduction of new "omix" technologies for the development of translational medicine, pharmacogenomics and genetics
Early diagnosis and prevention of rare genetic diseases, as well as the development of new drugs.
Selection of new diagnostic, prognostic and predictive markers

Thus, the envisaged technological development, combined with the undoubted experience and achievements of NUCBTR in the field of molecular biology, molecular genetics and genomics, proteomic and metabolic research, population genetics and molecular epidemiological research, will give a significant boost to the scientific research in Bulgaria.

On the one hand, this will ensure the competitiveness of Bulgarian research institutions within the EU, providing additional funding for research projects, ensuring opportunities for career development of staff and laying the foundations for creating new crane diagnostics and prevention of rare genetic diseases, as well as the development of new drugs, collaborations with leading institutions in Europe and around the world.

On the other hand, technological advances and the development of scientific potential will allow NUCBTR to engage in public-private partnership initiatives, offering services in the field of biomedical research and the application of "omix" technologies, to initiate and boost the development of spin -off companies based on innovation, as well as to attract partners and clients from research and health organizations from the Balkan region and EU countries. All this will have an undoubted social and economic effect for Bulgaria.

  • Solving important problems in the field of science, education and health. The main scientific issues, that will be developed by partners and customers NUKBTR, will be associated with the diagnosis and treatment of:

  • The most significant common diseases, such as cancer, cardiovascular, metabolic, neurological and psychiatric, infectious. The research will focus on discovering the molecular basis of these diseases, the genetic factors associated with predisposition, the identification of biological markers of diagnostic and prognostic value, the development of new drugs and therapeutic approaches.

  • Rare genetic diseases. The rare diseases have a significant social and economic impact on the society and health system of the EU member states. Over 30 million people in Europe, including 420,000 Bulgarians living with a rare disease. These are over 6,000 diseases, often progressive and severely disabling, and in about 80% of cases they have a genetic cause

Within the medical universities, closely related to the establishment and development of NUCBTR. work research teams with internationally recognized achievements in the study of common and rare diseases. Some of them are leaders in the study of the molecular basis of neurodegenerative, psychiatric, endocrine, ocular, renal and oncological diseases, both nationally and globally. The technological development of the national infrastructure will give the necessary boost to their work, ensuring easy access to modern equipment, opportunities for additional training of staff and a basis for building collaborations for knowledge exchange and knowledge transfer in practice.

Integration into other European research infrastructures and networks in the biomedical field

NUCBTR has the potential to become part of the European EATRIS infrastructure, though its well-developed structural units in genomics and metabolomics

The European advanced translational research infrastructure in medicine (EATRIS) is a complex infrastructure consisting of several European biomedical research centers, tasked with applying fundamental discoveries to clinical practice. The centers provide access to the latest technologies and cover the main groups of diseases: cancer, metabolic, neurological, cardiovascular and infectious. The consortium is open to all countries wishing to contribute to the European applied research infrastructure.

Molecular Medicine Center, MU-Sofia, one of the leading structures for genetic, genomic and translational research at the Medical University-Sofia and one of the main drivers of NUCBTR's development, has received an invitation to participate in the EATRIS network.

NUCBPI also has the potential to join the European EuroBioImaging infrastructure.

The development of biomedical education

The university complex coordinates the activities of two of the most important institutions for medical education and research in Bulgaria, the Medical Universities in Sofia and Plovdiv. This will allow the establishment of a common framework for student training and postgraduate qualification of specialists in the field of medicine and life sciences, through the development and implementation of modern training programs, ensuring the quality of education by attracting proven experts and providing opportunities for gaining practical experience in world-class laboratories. Working together within NUCBTR, the two universities will have the opportunity to improve inter-institutional relations to ensure quality medical education in Bulgaria.

Supporting the career development of young scientists

NUCBTR will support the career development of highly qualified and motivated young researchers in Bulgaria. The modern infrastructure will serve for practical training in personalized genomic medicine of a new generation of medical specialists through exchanges with other European universities, doctoral and master's programs in medicine, molecular biology, molecular genetics and biochemistry. Opportunities for world-class training and involvement in high-value scientific developments will attract young researchers with great potential and thus contribute to overcoming the trend of "brain drain" observed in recent years.

Long-term effect on healthcare in Bulgaria

The effect of investments in the development of NUCBTR for healthcare will be huge. The benefits will come from:

  • the identification of diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers, the use of which in medical practice will allow early diagnosis, timely treatment and proper selection of therapy for patients suffering from diseases important to society and the economy. This research result has the potential for quick and easy application in practice, without the need for significant investment in equipment or training of medical staff

  • clarifying the molecular basis of diseases will allow the development of new drugs and therapeutic approaches.

  • translational research The transition of these scientific developments from the laboratory to the patient's bed will require significantly more time, money and expert potential, which, however, will be repeatedly offset by the significant effect on the health system.

  • new treatment approaches that will ensure better quality and life expectancy for patients, ensuring more efficient spending of public funds in the field of health care. 

  • opportunity for business and economic development, serving as a basis for building profitable public-private partnerships and spin-off companies.

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