January 3, 2014
The European Commission has awarded over £10,000,000 (€12m) to SYBIL, a five year project involving 18 partners across Europe, which hopes to make breakthroughs in the treatment of bone diseases. Newcastle University (UK) will be leading this project to look at the genetic causes of hundreds of bone diseases. SYBIL will aim to find the genetic causes of both common and rare skeletal diseases by “using mouse models of 60 distinct genetic variants as well as pluripotent stem cells, zebrafish and conventional cell culture systems“. Rare Skeletal Diseases (RSDs) primarily affect the developing skeleton and are considered a diverse and complex group of diseases with more than 450 conditions that differ in their range of severity. According to the SYBIL press release, “RSDs have an overall prevalence of at least 1 per 4,000 children, which extrapolates to a minimum of 225,000 people in the 27 member states and candidate countries of the EU”.