Category Archives: JPND News

How should academia and industry collaborate to generate new diagnostic tools and therapies for neurodegenerative diseases?

At a workshop in Turin in October 2017, JPND brought together some 20 representatives from academia and the private sector to address this question and to lay the foundations for future exchanges and collaborations.

In a series of frank and lively discussion sessions, participants offered their views on the scientific areas and activities where potential exists for improved collaboration and alignment. Participants represented a broad range of sectors, including pharma, diagnostics, imaging, medical devices, and healthcare providers, and about half of the private-sector attendees came from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

During the discussions and in responses gathered by questionnaire, the three most important areas identified for potential collaboration – based on the scientific priorities of the JPND Research Strategy – were Developing therapies, preventive strategies and interventions, followed by Disease mechanisms and models and Origins of neurodegenerative diseases.

Participants identified science exchange programmes and infrastructure sharing as specific activities around which JPND and industry scientists could work together in the future. Other ideas identified from the brainstorming included organising a meeting for industry scientists focused on JPND research findings as well as inviting company scientists to join the review board for JPND calls. Direct participation in JPND calls was also encouraged, for example there could be a call to enable scientists who had developed promising products to interact with SMEs that specialized in product development.

JPND’s activities and new tools, including the Experimental Models for Parkinson’s Disease Database and the Global Cohort Portal, were also presented as part of the workshop.

The half-day meeting, which took place as part of the annual Meet in Italy for Life Sciences event, represented a first step toward improved engagement with industry and SMEs, and the outputs will be further analysed to improve JPND’s ongoing and future strategy for engagement with industry.

To mark the end of the FlySMALS consortium, which was funded in the 2013 JPND Cross-Disease Analysis call, project partners are now organising a workshop on integrative approaches in neurodegeneration.

The workshop, which will take place in Lisbon, Portugal, from 21-23 June 2018, aims to disseminate and integrate the results of the research consortium with state-of-the-art research in the field, promoting the joint presentation and discussion of relevant research topics by a panel of international experts, including members of other consortia funded through the same JPND call.

The programme targets a broad audience of basic, experimental, computational and clinical scientists, in the spirit of the JPND Cross-Disease Analysis call, aiming to:

  • promote the analysis of diseases across traditional clinical boundaries
  • combine fundamental, pre-clinical and clinical experimental approaches  with computational approaches
  • re-define clinical phenotypes and new approaches in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases
  • identify commonalities and differences in molecular pathways underlying neurodegenerative diseases

The workshop will bring together 20 invited speakers and 50 registered participants, providing opportunities for dynamic interactions and exchange of expertise across areas. Participants will be able to present their work at a poster session and in short talks from selected abstracts.

To view the full scientific programme and register, please visit the workshop website: http://bit.ly/IANeuroD.

The Weston Brain Institute is now accepting applications to its Rapid Response: Ireland, Netherlands, UK 2018 (Fluid Biomarkers) program.

This initiative aims to provide seed funding, without requirement for preliminary data, to support high-risk, high-reward, translational research on novel biomarkers detected in patient-derived fluids (e.g., blood, CSF, saliva, stool).

Principal Applicants must be at eligible institutions located in Ireland, the Netherlands, or the UK.

The deadline to submit a Letter of Intent is Monday, 23 April, 2018, 4:00pm BST.

More information is available on the program website.

 

 

The International Consortium for Personalised Medicine, ICPerMed, is now accepting applications to its inaugural “Best Practice in Personalised Medicine” award.

Created with the aim of encouraging and disseminating examples of best practices in personalised medicine (PM), the award is open to individuals from any ICPerMed partner country who have published scientific papers and/or developed best-practice strategies during the period spanning January 1, 2016-December 31, 2017.

Successful candidates will be invited to present their results at the 2018 ICPerMed Conference in Berlin and will receive €500 to support the dissemination of their work.

The deadline to submit an application is March 2, 2018.

For more information about the award and to learn how to apply, visit the ICPerMed website.

The EU Joint Programme on Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND) is inviting proposals from multi-national research teams 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.

In this context, JPND today announced a new call inviting multi-national research teams to submit proposals for 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.

Professor Philippe Amouyel, Chair of JPND

“Over the past decades, most of the funding has been allocated to basic and translational research with the aim of discovering new treatments,” said Professor Philippe Amouyel, Chair of JPND. However, immediate impactful developments also come from health and social care research and innovation, including new insights that point to the potential for improved patient empowerment, civic participation, and quality of life. That’s why twenty JPND countries have earmarked €21 million to support multi-national research consortia investigating the strengths and weaknesses of different models of care and potential pathways to implementing improved, evidence-based approaches. 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.”

Proposals submitted under this call, which is open to applicants in 20 countries, must relate to any or several of the following neurodegenerative diseases: Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, Parkinson’s disease and related disorders, prion diseases, motor neuron diseases, Huntington’s disease, spinocerebellar ataxia and spinal muscular atrophy. JPND is committed to Patient and Public Involvement, and proposals are expected to engage patients, carers and the public. Research projects may include, but are not limited to, one or several of the following areas:

  • Care pathways and programmes using the potential of patient involvement
  • Factors influencing progression and prognosis of disease
  • Outcome measures for patients and their informal carers
  • Palliative care for patients
  • Cost-effectiveness and affordability of interventions including ethical concerns

Pre-proposals must be submitted no later than 23:59h C.E.T. on March 6, 2018.

For more information about the call, please click here.

The EU Joint Programme on Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND) was established to better coordinate research efforts across countries and disciplines to more rapidly find causes, develop cures and identify better ways to care for people with neurodegenerative disease. Today more than 40 million people worldwide are estimated to be living with Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders – the most common class of neurodegenerative disease – and this figure is expected to rise in the coming decades. The JPND Research and Innovation Strategy identified research priorities and provided a framework for future investment and is available for download here.

 

To mark the half-way point of the three-year projects funded in 2015 for the JPco-fuND call, the project coordinators of the 21 projects met for a two-day symposium in The Hague to learn about each other’s work, strengthen existing ties and build new relationships to further enhance research into neurodegenerative diseases. This meeting was a unique opportunity for each researcher to discover the wide variety and the cutting-edge level of the projects, raising new perspectives for all of them.

The researchers, whose projects focus on diseases ranging from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases to rarer maladies such as Huntington’s disease, ALS, SCA3 and PolyQ, were invited to give brief seven-minute presentations on their work. The presentations were followed by lively Q&A sessions moderated by JPND representatives including Thomas Gasser, Myrra Vernooij-Dassen, Philippe Amouyel and Jesus de Pedro.

The scientific sessions were complemented with an informative seminar on data management and data sharing.  The seminar highlighted the importance—and the difficulties—of collecting, storing and sharing data. The second day featured a presentation of JPND’s most recent tools, the Experimental Models in Parkinson’s site, the Global Cohort Portal and the research funding database.

After each of the four scientific sessions, participants had the chance to network during coffee breaks and meals, as well as tour the poster presentations given by a young scientist from each consortium. “The role of JPND is to bring together scientists to encourage the cross-pollination of ideas and to favour new collaborations, allowing them to share the latest advancements in their fields and build relationships that will strengthen their research now and in the future,” said Philippe Amouyel, Chair of JPND.

Whilst several project consortia are already collaborating, the Symposium offered participants a host of networking opportunities, as well as a unique chance to get a glimpse of each other’s work and progress and encouraged researchers to further explore new ways to collaborate and connect.  As a result, the Symposium proved to be an enriching experience for all. The Final Symposium, where each project will report on the final results of their three years of work, is slated to take place in 2019.

For details on the JPco-fuND projects, click here.

To learn more about the progress of the JPco-fuND projects, read the presentation abstracts here.

Principal investigators representing 21 projects JPND projects will be gathering tomorrow to meet, network and  participate in panel discussions in order to learn about each other’s work and increase their collaborations so as to fight neurodegenerative diseases even more efficiently.

 

The PIs represent the projects funded under the 2015 JPco-fuND Transnational call and will meet for two days in The Hague.

 

Marking the midpoint of the research projects funded in 2015, the Symposium is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for the researchers to gather, share ideas, learn about the research of others in their field and strengthen ties.

 

Young scientists from each research consortium will also have the opportunity to present a poster related to their consortium’s work during the symposium.

 

Click here for details on the projects funded by the 2015 JPco-fuND Transnational call.

The EU Joint Programme – Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND) will shortly launch a call for “Multinational research projects on Health and Social Care for Neurodegenerative Diseases”.

There are an estimated 47 million people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders worldwide. This figure is expected to double every 20 years as the population ages.  As of today, neurodegenerative diseases are debilitating and still largely untreatable conditions.

Providing appropriate health and social care represents an increasingly significant responsibility for people who live with such diseases as well as their relatives and carers. Novel health and social care concepts focus on what people still can contribute in the context of the disease and how their environment may influence this process. Nevertheless, the availability and quality of health and social care services vary considerably across Europe and beyond.

Therefore, JPND will launch a call for multidisciplinary proposals that focus on one or several of the following research areas:

  • Care pathways and programmes using the potential of patient involvement
  • Factors influencing progression and prognosis of disease
  • Outcome measures for patients and their informal carers
  • Palliative care of patients
  • Cost-effectiveness and affordability of interventions including ethical concerns

 

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 2018, with a likely pre-proposal submission deadline in March 2018. Further details will be provided with the official 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 JPND website (jpnd.eu)

 

Researchers studying neurodegenerative disease can now look up cohort studies and make connections through a new online database. The JPND Global Cohort Portal, created by the EU Joint Programme – Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND), is a searchable online database of neurodegenerative disease cohort studies.

 

Long-term studies which follow large groups of people over time – known as longitudinal cohort studies – are a rich, but currently under-used, resource. Finding and contacting relevant cohorts can be a difficult and time-consuming task for researchers.

 

The portal aims to overcome this challenge by allowing users to search for cohorts that can be used for neurodegeneration research around the world, based on a summary of and the data collected. The cohort contact details are available on the portal, giving researchers the opportunity to make new connections.

 

Currently including 110 cohorts, the tool will continue to grow as new cohorts are discovered and added. The aim of the portal is to encourage information exchange and new collaborations within the neurodegenerative disease community, to support scientific progress.

 

After exploring the database, Dag Aarsland, Professor of Old Age Psychiatry at King’s College London, said: “I was pleased to see that the JPND Global Cohort Portal offers a broad and overarching view of cohorts that have been funded in countries across Europe and beyond. In fact, after just a few minutes of exploring the JPND Portal, I identified a number of cohorts that I hadn’t heard of before, which may be useful in my research.” Read the full interview with Professor Aarsland on the Portal.

 

Neurodegenerative disease-specific and general population cohorts, related to neurodegenerative disease research, are both included. To be considered relevant, they must be cohorts that were set up to follow a range of health or social factors as a population ages, or cohorts looking at other chronic diseases but using measures of risk relevant to neurodegenerative disease, for example metabolic or cardiovascular factors.

 

To be included, neurodegenerative disease-specific cohorts must have more than 200 participants, unless they are classed as rare conditions. General population cohorts must include over 1,000 participants.

 

To allow the database to grow and evolve, an online entry form is available for principal investigators to submit their cohort for inclusion after checks. Cohorts can also be updated to reflect changes, such as when new waves of data are available or upon the introduction of a new test.

A new, publicly accessible website is cataloguing the range of animal and cellular models currently available for the study of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and providing a forum for scientists to discuss the limitations of these models and how they might be improved. The JPND database of Experimental Models for Parkinson’s disease, developed in cooperation with the Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research (MIUR), aims to build an online network of scientists working in the field to more rapidly establish community consensus around currently available models. By bringing together expertise from across national and disciplinary boundaries, JPND seeks to accelerate progress toward the next generation of experimental models, which could ultimately contribute to a deeper understanding of the causes of PD and the development of potential disease-modifying therapies.

 

Why experimental models for Parkinson’s?

Experimental models mimic the processes thought to be at play in human patients and allow researchers to assess possible treatments before moving into clinical trials. They span both in vivo models – including mammals (e.g., mice) and non-mammals (e.g., zebrafish, Drosophila) — and in vitro models (e.g., “brain in a dish”). As such, they are a critical tool for scientists studying the origins and pathways of PD. Yet to date the available models have shown limited capabilities to translate the wealth of information recently generated by preclinical research into new treatments, diagnostics and preventive strategies. A 2014 report published by the JPND Action Group on Experimental Models identified some of the most pressing limitations facing current models for PD, including lack of behavioral analysis relevant to humans, lack of models for symptoms that do not respond to dopaminergic treatment, and lack of models with progressive neuronal loss associated to alpha-synuclein deposits and neuroinflammatory processes. With this web forum, JPND aims to address and expand on this analysis and set the basis for the development of innovative new strategies that can be applied in the field.

 

How does it work?

Sign up for free to access an overview of the different models and to join the conversation. The database currently provides detailed information on in-vivo mammalian models, and will soon be expanded to include non-mammalian in-vivo models as well as in vitro models. You may comment on specific individual models or categories of models and respond to comments already left by other users.  It is expected to be expanded over time, with other neurodegenerative diseases covered by JPND added progressively. Additional models will also be added thanks to your contribution; your participation will help to build an open source of information available to everyone.

 

Why join the forum?

  • Discuss the limitations and potential improvements of current models with other scientists
  • Get the latest updates on the state-of-the-art of experimental models for PD
  • Participate in real-time discussion

 

Join us at: http://www.neurodegenerationresearch.eu/models-for-parkinsons-disease/

 

For more information, please contact experimentalmodels@jpnd.eu