EUROCleftNet is a European network of scientists and clinicians dedicated to research into the causes and treatment of clefts lip and palate.  It was set up in 2011 with a grant from the European Science Foundation and will, over five years, bring together researchers from all over Europe to look at ways in which clefts might be prevented and treatment outcomes improved.

A primary aim is to secure funding for long term research in these areas and try to get commercial partners on board.

‘The research programme builds on a previous multi-million Euro and multi-centre collaborative research initiative, EUROCRAN (European collaboration on craniofacial anomalies) which has yielded new insights into genetic and environmental factors that contribute to the cause of orofacial clefts,’ said Professor Mossey, EUROCleftNet chair..

‘This work means that for the first time a major effort will be made towards the ultimate scientific and humanitarian objective – primary prevention of orofacial clefts.’

The effects of a cleft of lip and / or palate on an individual’s speech, hearing, appearance and psychology can lead to adverse outcomes for health and social integration. Care requires a multidisciplinary approach from birth to adulthood, involving a range of disciplines, for example plastic surgery, speech and language therapy, counseling and dentistry.

Approximately one in 700 live births is affected in Europe with prevalence varying according to geography and ethnicity.

The grant awarded will facilitate a research network which has received support from research member organisations in Germany, The Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland as well as the Medical Research Council in the UK.

EUROCleftNet Steering Committee members can be viewed on the ESF website