The identification of the extracellular calcium sensing receptor (CaSR) was a crucial step in understanding nutrient sensing in mammals. The CaSR is the fundamental tool used by cells to detect subtle changes in extracellular calcium and has been the subject of intense research activity since it was first cloned 18 years ago. The CaSR is the main regulator of calcium homeostasis and it also has multiple additional roles in some of the most common human diseases. For example, osteoporosis, blood vessel calcification and cancer are all associated with impaired CaSR expression and/or function. The extent of the suffering these diseases cause emphasises the importance of the CaSR as a therapeutic target. The diversity of these disorders identifies an important challenge for the future: how to integrate CaSR research across such a wide variety of disciplines.
The formation of an Initial Training Network is an ideal way to address this challenge. The Multifaceted CaSR ITN will perform basic and multidisciplinary investigations into the role of the calcium sensing receptor and will provide experimental data for computational modelling. It will use holistic approaches of systems biology to gain knowledge on mechanisms of calcium sensing receptor function in two major pathologies: cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
The Multifaceted CaSR Network uses the pleiotropism of the CaSR to develop a unique multidisciplinary training programme. Understanding the molecular mechanisms of action of the CaSR would allow for innovative and creative ideas, in order to develop novel diagnostic, preventive, and therapeutic strategies. The Multifaceted CaSR Network will enable young scientists to experience several Academic and Industrial Research Institutions during secondments, and to gain professional and complementary skills by outstanding training provided. They will acquire a personal and unique mix of competences that will help them to manage successfully their careers.