Author Archives: jpnd

Launched on 1 November 2018, the European Brain Council (EBC)-coordinated EU project The European Brain Research Area (EBRA), was designed to respond to the Horizon 2020 call SC1-HCO-10-2018, entitled ‘Coordinating European brain research and developing global initiatives’.

Aimed at reducing the fragmentation and duplication of research efforts and at fostering synergies through enhanced coordination of brain research efforts at the EU and global level, the EBRA project was created as a catalysing platform for brain research stakeholders (researchers, clinicians, patients, governments, funders and public institutions) to streamline and better co-ordinate brain research across Europe while fostering global initiatives.

The highly diversified nature of European public research represents a considerable obstacle in the European Research Area, especially in the field of brain research, where the complexity of brain imposes a coordinated research effort to advance the understanding of brain and its disorders.

The EU and its Member States have made considerable investments in brain research,  leading to a significant increase of initiatives in this area, particularly under Horizon 2020. Although these initiatives have generated considerable amounts of knowledge and innovative approaches, more coordinated efforts to identify gaps and highlight priorities are needed, to combat the complexity of the challenge.

Over the next three years, the EBRA Consortium will work to align and better coordinate research strategies across European and global brain initiatives; facilitating the emergence of research projects in specific areas in active clusters, and providing support for effective collaboration. This includes enabling the sharing of data and access to research infrastructures; increasing the visibility of the brain research portfolio as a whole and promoting the uptake of EBRA results to key stakeholders.

The Consortium consists of the EBC membership, the Network of European funding for Neuroscience research (NEURON), Joint Programme – Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND) and the Human Brain Project (HBP).


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme under grant agreement No 825348

The EU Joint Programme – Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND) will shortly launch a new cohesive action with the European Commission – a call for “Multinational research projects on Personalised Medicine for Neurodegenerative Diseases”. More than €30 million have already been earmarked by JPND member countries and the European Commission for this action.

Neurodegenerative diseases are debilitating and still largely untreatable conditions. They are characterised by a large variability in their origins, mechanisms and clinical expression. When searching for a medical solution, e.g. a treatment or an optimised approach for care, this large variability constitutes a major hurdle if not controlled. Indeed a treatment addressing one disease pathway may not be useful for all patients experiencing the relevant symptoms. Thus, one of the greatest challenges for treating neurodegenerative diseases is the deciphering of this variability.

JPND has chosen to focus in the area of Precision Medicine, which relates to the targeting of specific elements responsible for pathology in a given individual at a particular point in time. It is an emerging approach for disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment that takes into account individual variability in genes, biological/molecular characteristics together with environmental and lifestyle factors.

Thus, the upcoming call for multidisciplinary research proposals conducted by JPND and the European Commission will focus on Precision Medicine in the following research areas:

  • Diagnosis (e.g. biomarkers, imaging data, omics approaches, big data analyses)
  • Prevention (e.g. biomarkers for studying novel treatments and interventions, co-morbidities, digital technologies, stratification within cohort studies and clinical trials)
  • Care (e.g. improvement of social and health care systems, molecular profiling, imaging, lifestyle data)

The following neurodegenerative diseases are included in the call:

  • Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias
  • Parkinson’s disease and PD‐related disorders
  • Prion diseases
  • Motor neuron diseases
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA)
  • Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA)

This will be a two-step call, expected to be launched in early January 2019, with a likely pre-proposal submission deadline in March 2019. Further details will be provided with the launch of the call.

Please note:

All information regarding future JPND call topics is subject to change.

Final call information will be published on the call page.

The EU Joint Programme on Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND) has awarded funding to ten multi-national research teams in order to increase understanding of the factors that contribute to the quality and delivery of health and social care for neurodegenerative diseases.

Current research suggests strong potential for improving quality of life for those living with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, with novel health and social care concepts and innovations focusing on the preservation of dignity, independence and social inclusion. Nevertheless, the availability and quality of such services vary considerably across Europe and beyond.

JPND has selected ten teams with ambitious, innovative and multi-disciplinary collaborative projects that address health and social care at both the macro level of systems and infrastructures and the individual level of patients, carers and families.

“While waiting for new treatments to emerge from basic and translational research, we need to support projects that could deliver immediate impactful developments which health and social care research and innovation may be able to achieve. This includes new insights that point to the potential for improved patient empowerment, civic participation and quality of life,” said Professor Philippe Amouyel, Chair of JPND. Our hope is that this work will lead to the adoption of novel health promotion strategies that will reduce the impact of disease for patients as well as for their families and carers.”

The ten projects were recommended for funding by an independent, international Peer Review Panel based on scientific excellence with input from the JPND advisory board on patient and public involvement. Proposals are presented in alphabetical order according to their acronym.

Visit the call page here.

ADDITION
Alzheimer’s disease data-driven insights on individual outcomes of importance

Coordinator:
Linus Jönsson, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden

Partners:
Wiesje van der Flier, VU University Medical Center, The Netherlands
Carole Dufouil, INSERM, University of Bordeaux, France

 

COGNISANCE
CO-desiGning demeNtia dIagnoSis ANd post-diagnostic CarE

Coordinator:

Henry Brodaty, University of New South Wales, Australia

Partners:
Lee-Fay Low, University of Sydney, Australia
Isabelle Vedell, McGill University, Canada
Frans Verhey F, Maastricht University, The Netherlands
Greta Rait, University College London, United Kingdom
Louise Robinson, Newcastle University Institute for Ageing, United Kingdom
Joanna Rymaszewska, Wroclaw Medical University, Poland


DOMINO-HD

Multi-Domain Lifestyle Targets for Improving ProgNOsis in Huntington’s Disease

Coordinator:
Monica Busse, Centre for Trials Research, Cardiff University, United Kingdom

Partners:
Madeleine Lowery, Insight Centre for Data Analytics, University College Dublin, Ireland
Esther Cubo, Hospital Universitario of Burgos, Spain
Grzegorz Witkowski, Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology, Warsaw, Poland
Bernhard Landwehrmeyer, University of Ulm, Germany
Hans Jung, University of Zurich, Switzerland

FCDS Study
Scaling up the Family Carer Decision Support Intervention: A transnational effectiveness-implementation evaluation

Coordinator:
Kevin Brazil, Queen’s University Belfast, United Kingdom

Partners:
Sharon Kaasalainen, McMaster University, Canada
Jenny van der Steen, Leiden University Medical Centre, The Netherlands
Nicola Cornally, University College Cork, Republic of Ireland
Martin Loucka, Center for Palliative Care, Czech Republic

HEALTHE-RND
European eHealth care model for rare neurodegenerative diseases

Coordinator:
Jiri Klempir, Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic

Partners:

Jennifer Hoblyn, Bloomfield Hospital, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
Ferdinando Squitieri, Huntington and Rare Diseases Unit, IRCCS Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza Hospital, Italy
Wilco Achterberg, Leiden University Medical Center, Topaz Huntington Center Overduin, The Netherlands
Niels Chavannes, Leiden University Medical Center, Department of Public Health and Primary Care, The Netherlands
Bernhard Landwehrmeyer, University of Ulm, Germany
Stephen P McKenna, Galen Research, Manchester, United Kingdom


HOMESIDE

A HOME-based Spousal caregiver-delivered music Intervention for people living with DEmentia: A Randomised Controlled Trial

Coordinator:

Felicity Baker, The University of Melbourne, Australia

Partners:
Karette Stensæth, Norwegian Academy of Music, Norway
Helen Odell-Miller, Anglia Ruskin University, United Kingdom
Thomas Wosch, University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt, Germany
Anna Bukowska, University of Physical Education in Krakow, Poland


iCARE-PD

Integrated Parkinson Care Networks: addressing complex care in Parkinson disease in contemporary society

Coordinator:
Tiago Mestre, The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute / University of Ottawa, Canada

Partners:
Carsten Eggers, Philipps University of Marburg, Germany
Álvaro Sanchez-Ferro, Fundación Investigación HM Hospitales, Spain
Olivier Rascol, Toulouse University Hospital, France
Timothy Lynch, The Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Ireland
Evžen Růžička, Charles University, Czech Republic


OPTIM-PARK

Optimization of community resources and systems of support to enhance the process of living with Parkinson’s Disease: a multisectoral intervention

Coordinator:
Maria Carmen Portillo, University of Southampton, United Kingdom

Partners:

Maria Victoria Navarta, University of Navarra, Spain
Lydia López Manzanares, Hospital Universitario de la Princesa, Spain
Christina Foss, University of Oslo, Norway
Anita Haahr, VIA University College, Denmark


SHAPE

Self-management and HeAlth Promotion in Early-stage dementia with e-learning for carers – A randomised controlled trial

Coordinator:
Ingelin Testad, Stavanger University Hospital, Norway

Partners:

Geir Selbæk, Norwegian National Advisory Unit on Ageing and Health, Norway
Linda Clare, University of Exeter, United Kingdom
Martin Knapp, London School of Economics & Political Science, United Kingdom
Kaarin Anstey, University of New South Wales, Australia


SHARED

Social Health And Reserve in the Dementia patient journey

Coordinator:
Arfan Ikram, Erasmus MC Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Partners:

René Melis, Radboud UMC, The Netherlands
Anna-Karin Welmer, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden
Henry Brodaty, University of New South Wales, Australia
Daniel Davis, University College London, United Kingdom
Karin Wolf-Ostermann, University of Bremen, Germany
Joanna Rymaszewska, Wroclaw Medical University, Poland

Did you know that there are 10 JPIs (Joint Programming Initiatives) addressing societal challenges, from climate change to neurodegenerative diseases, through coordinated research and innovation in Europe? Watch the video below, created in honour of the tenth anniversary of JPIs, to find out more about how they are tackling some of the biggest issues facing our society.

From today, funders and researchers can access a database containing survey information spanning three decades-worth of global neurodegenerative disease research funding.

The new, expanded online database is the result of a large-scale mapping exercise of neurodegenerative disease research investments and infrastructure across Europe, Australia and Canada – all member countries of the EU Joint Programme for Neurodegenerative Diseases (JPND). It follows a smaller-scale survey completed in 2011.

Providing a snapshot of public and not-for-profit investment in the area, the new data captured in 2016 covers research funding and resources recorded as active on 1 January 2016.

Together with the existing 2011 data, the investments span a 28-year period, from 2002 to 2030. Combined with projects from the first exercise, the database now indexes more than 3,100 projects and resources.

Analysis of the data, published in an accompanying report, reveals that annual neurodegenerative research spending has increased by 34% across JPND since 2011, from €370 million up to €494 million.

The aim of this expanded, interactive resource is to share funding information, promote new collaborations and inform strategy, ultimately supporting scientific progress in the neurodegenerative disease area.

The latest 2016 mapping exercise captures 2,672 projects, ranging from large multinational research programmes to small investments and fellowship awards. It covers seven new JPND members and data from partners in 27 different countries, including JPND transnational awards for the first time.

Visitors can use the database to explore what type of research has been funded and look at profiles of past and current investments by multiple funders or within specific countries. Research organisations may find it useful to draw on the information as a basis for coordinating funding strategies and preventing duplication.

To increase the global reach of the data, it will also be displayed in the International Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias Research Portfolio (IADRP) database. This follows a new partnership between JPND, the U.S. National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Alzheimer’s Association (AA). Reciprocally, relevant research from the NIH will be accessible via the JPND database later this year.

About the EU Joint Programme on Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND)

JPND brings together 30 countries to accelerate discovery by aligning research priorities, approaches and programmes. This has resulted in the creation of the largest global collaboration in the field and represents an innovative approach to finding causes, developing cures and identifying appropriate ways to care for people living with neurodegenerative diseases. To learn more about JPND, visit www.jpnd.eu.

Two major research funding entities in the EU and US are joining forces for the first time to optimise and harmonise research into neurodegenerative diseases. The EU Joint Programme on Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND) and the U.S. National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced today the creation of a new cross-initiative action to link and support collaborations between researchers working in the field.

NIH and JPND ran separate calls for proposals in 2017 to investigate common mechanisms and pathways in neurodegenerative diseases. With this joint action, researchers supported under the JPND call are invited to team up with researchers supported under the NIH call, and vice versa, to propose joint activities such as common workshops, data exchanges and pilot experiments. These activities will add value to the science being undertaken in ongoing projects by accelerating knowledge transfer between research groups.

“Collaboration is the key to progressing our understanding of the biological underpinnings of neurodegenerative disease,” said JPND Chair Professor Philippe Amouyel. “These awards will offer NIH and JPND researchers the opportunity to more systematically and efficiently connect and share knowledge, tools and data. They will enhance current investigations into the fundamental mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases while also planting the seeds of future collaboration.”

“This is a crucial time of expanding global interest and support for neurodegenerative disease research,” said Dr. Eliezer Masliah, director of the NIA’s Division of Neuroscience. “In our connected age, breakthroughs in Alzheimer’s, vascular dementia, Lewy body disease, frontotemporal dementia and other neurological disorders require teamwork, and we look forward to strengthening the scientific connections between talented researchers across the EU and the US.”

Four research projects were supported under NIH’s call, “PAS17-028 Common Mechanisms and Interactions Among Neurodegenerative Diseases (R01)”. JPND’s call for “Multinational research projects for Pathway Analysis across Neurodegenerative Diseases” resulted in the support of ten research consortia, covering a range of diseases including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

About the EU Joint Programme on Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND): JPND brings together 30 countries to accelerate discovery by aligning research priorities, approaches and programmes. This has resulted in the creation of the largest global collaboration in the field and represents an innovative approach to finding causes, developing cures and identifying appropriate ways to care for people living with neurodegenerative diseases. To learn more about JPND, visit www.jpnd.eu.

About the National Institute on Aging: The NIA leads the federal government effort conducting and supporting research on aging and the health and well-being of older people. The NIA is designated as the lead NIH institute for information on Alzheimer’s disease. It provides information on age-related cognitive change and neurodegenerative disease, including participation in clinical studies, specifically on its Alzheimer’s website.

 

 

Enhanced lifestyle counselling prevents cognitive decline even in people who are carriers of the APOE4 gene, a common risk factor of Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study published in JAMA Neurology.

The two-year FINGER trial involved 60–77 year-old people living in Finland with risk factors for memory disorders. The study participants were divided into two groups: one of the groups was given regular lifestyle counselling and the other enhanced lifestyle counselling. Enhanced counselling involved nutrition counselling, physical and cognitive exercises and support in managing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Earlier findings from the FINGER trial have shown that the regular lifestyle counselling group had a significantly increased risk of cognitive and functional impairment compared to the intervention group, i.e. the group receiving enhanced counselling.

Now the researchers analysed whether the presence of the APOE4 gene affected the intervention results. The analysis included 1,109 persons of whom 362 were carriers of the APOE4 gene.

The findings show that enhanced lifestyle counselling prevented cognitive decline despite the presence of the risk gene. Analyses carried out within the groups also indicate that the intervention results might even be better in carriers of the APOE4 gene.

Paper: “Effect of the Apolipoprotein E Genotype on Cognitive Change During a Multidomain Lifestyle Intervention

Reprinted from materials provided by the University of Eastern Finland

New research sheds light on how a breakdown in the brain’s vascular system predates the accumulation of toxic plaques and tangles in the brain that bring about Alzheimer’s disease.

Nearly 50 percent of all dementias, including Alzheimer’s, begins with the breakdown of the smallest blood vessels in the brain and their protective “gatekeeper cells,” according to the study, published in Nature Medicine.

That catastrophe causes a communications failure called small vessel disease. Many people with that disease also have white matter disease, the wearing away of fatty myelin that allows neurons to transfer messages within the brain network. In an animal model, researchers found that brain deterioration associated with dementia may start as early 40 in humans.

For more than 25 years, scientists have known that white matter disease impedes a person’s ability to learn or remember new things, slows thinking and causes people to fall more often due to balance issues. They identified a link between crippled small blood vessels in the brain and white matter disease but didn’t know what started that process until now.

The study explains that pericytes, gatekeeper cells that surround the brain’s smallest blood vessels, play a critical role in white matter health and disease via fibrinogen, a protein that circulates in blood. Fibrinogen develops blood clots so wounds can heal. When gatekeeper cells are compromised, an unhealthy amount of fibrinogen slinks into the brain and causes white matter and brain structures, including axons (nerve fibers) and oligodendrocytes (cells that produces myelin), to die.

In a mouse model, the researchers used an enzyme known to reduce fibrinogen in blood and the brain. White matter volume in the mice returned to 90 percent of their normal state, and white matter connections were back to 80 percent productivity, the study found.

Paper: “Pericyte degeneration causes white matter dysfunction in the mouse central nervous system”

Reprinted from materials provided by USC.

JPND’s database of experimental models for Parkinson’s disease has recently been updated with 29 additional new pages on in-vivo mammalian models.

The database,  which was first made available to the community in 2017, is a unique collection aimed at presenting and fostering scientific discussion around the experimental models currently available to study Parkinson’s disease.

The database is continuously updated to reflect developments from the scientific literature and is a major effort by JPND to help researchers in the field. Together with an exhaustive description of each model and the studies that have already been done, there is a section for comments. You are welcome to add your comments to any of the models you have had experience with or to present alternative models.

We hope that you will join this growing community of scientists. To consult the database and add your contributions, please visit: http://www.neurodegenerationresearch.eu/models-for-parkinsons-disease/.

If you’d like any additional information, don’t hesitate to contact us directly at experimentalmodels@jpnd.eu.