Category Archives: JPND Progress

The EU Joint Programme – Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND) has announced a joint trans-national call for research projects for pathway analysis across neurodegenerative diseases.

Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease are a global health, economic and social emergency.  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 significantly increase in the coming decades. Yet, with the exception of a few cases, no curative treatment exists, and the basic underlying mechanisms of many neurodegenerative diseases remain poorly understood.

With this in mind, JPND has identified an urgent need for targeted investment to better understand the fundamental links between different diseases. There is already clinical, genetic and biochemical evidence that similar molecular pathways are relevant in different neurodegenerative and other chronic diseases. This call, which follows a similar call successfully launched by JPND in 2013, will see 23 million made available to applicants from 20 countries. It invites proposals for ambitious, innovative, multinational and multidisciplinary collaborative research projects to perform network analyses across diseases in order to further elucidate the common underlying mechanisms involved. This combined analysis could lead to a re-definition of clinical phenotypes and new approaches in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.

According to Professor Philippe Amouyel, Chair of JPND:
“JPND recognises that a critical step in the path to effective treatments or preventive strategies for neurodegenerative diseases is a deeper understanding of the underlying mechanisms of these diseases. What recent research has made clear is that these conceptual advancements will require greater thinking across traditional clinical boundaries. With this call, some €23 million will be made available to applicants to develop highly specialised cross-border projects that could lead to a better understanding of the biological underpinnings of neurodegenerative disease. Our hope is that these developments will in turn lead to new, outside-the-box diagnostic and therapeutic approaches.”

The neurodegenerative diseases included in the call are Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, Parkinson’s disease (PD) and PD‐related disorders, prion diseases, motor neuron diseases (such as ALS), Huntington’s disease, spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA) and spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).

Pre-proposals must be submitted no later than 23:59h C.E.T. on March 6, 2017.

For more information about the call, please click here.

With the aim of assessing participant satisfaction with the 2015 JPco-fuND call, in March and April 2016 JPND surveyed the project coordinators of all submitted proposals. Responses to the survey were compiled, analysed and condensed into a series of conclusions that will be used to inform and improve future calls.

To read more and download the full report on the survey, click here.

The EU Joint Programme – Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND) has announced a rapid-action call inviting leading scientists in the field to bring forward novel approaches that will enhance the use of brain imaging for neurodegenerative disease research.

Imaging techniques such as MR, PET and EEG mapping have brought about a dramatic improvement in the understanding of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. In recent years, access to cutting-edge imaging technologies and platforms has expanded, and advances have been made in the harmonisation of acquisition procedures across scanners and vendors. However, fully capitalising on the use of brain imaging technologies for neurodegeneration research will require the development of new methodologies and the ability to achieve image acquisition and analysis at scale and at the global level.

The aim of the call is to establish a limited number of transnational working groups to address the key challenges facing the use of new and innovative brain imaging techniques in neurodegenerative disease research. The working groups will be community-led and will establish ‘best practice’ guidelines and/or methodological frameworks to overcome these barriers. Each working group can bid up to €50,000 for the support of its activities, which are expected to run for a maximum of 9 months.

According to Professor Philippe Amouyel, Chair of the JPND Management Board:

“JPND recognises that state-of-the-art brain imaging techniques are a vital resource for neurodegenerative disease research. However, achieving scalability for these technologies poses new challenges. For this reason, we’ve launched a rapid-action call inviting international research teams to address the most urgent issues in harmonisation and alignment in neuroimaging. The establishment of effective new guidelines and methodological frameworks will represent a critical step toward the full exploitation of brain imaging in neurodegenerative disease research.”

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)

Proposals must be submitted by 23:59H C.E.T. on March 10, 2016.

For more information about the call, please click here.

 

megaphone_announcement.jpgIn 2015, JPND has launched a joint transnational co-funded call in partnership with the European Commission under the ERA-NET Co-fund scheme in three JPND priority areas:

 

Longitudinal Cohort Approaches, Advanced Experimental Models, Risk and Protective Factors.

 

Twenty-one project proposals are recommended for funding by the Peer Review Panel based on scientific excellence and by the Call Steering Committee based on budget availability.

More information here

 

REPORTS AVAILABLE

JPND call 2014:  “ Working Groups to Inform Cohort Studies in Neurodegenerative Disease Research

 

Increasing the impact of longitudinal population studies for neurodegenerative disease research

The use of population studies offers a significant opportunity for research into factors affecting risk and progression of neurodegenerative disease, an opportunity that is greater than ever given the emergence of new molecular and digital technologies. However, to fully realise this potential there is a need to harmonise approaches and encourage collaboration and data sharing. In response to this, JPND commissioned ten groups of experts through a peer reviewed call for proposals to address methodological challenges preventing current population- and disease-based longitudinal cohorts being fully used for ND research.  A brief description of the valuable reports and recommendations provided by each group is provided below.

Philippe Amouyel, the Chair of JPND comments:

JPND recognises that longitudinal cohort studies are a rich but under-used resource. This is why we designed a rapid-action call to ask leading international experts to put their heads together to help exploit this opportunity and make population studies more accessible to a wider range of researchers. The guidelines that have been provided through this extensive body of work provide an important resource for the scientific community, which will help researchers increase collaborative activity and make productive use of longitudinal cohort studies. 

Reports available here

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On February 26th, 2015, Australia joined the ‘JPco-fuND’ call for proposals.

Due to this late arrival, researchers from Australia can participate as external collaborators in proposals submitted to this call under specific conditions.

The specific conditions for researchers in Australia can be found on the “Specific regulations” page of the call.

Should a proposal involving a collaborator from Australia be recommended for funding, these collaborators are eligible for funding from the NHMRC National Institute of Dementia Research (NNIDR).

*Please Note: Under this call the NNIDR will only fund research that focusses primarily on Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

Since late 2014, a total of 25 JPND-supported transnational projects and working groups have begun their work to tackle the challenge of neurodegenerative diseases in a number of JPND priority areas.

JPND has now published user-friendly fact sheets of the individual projects and working groups which are supported under the following previously-launched JPND calls for research proposals.

The fact sheets are available on the particular call results page via the links above or through the “Supported Projects” section of the JPND website.

 

 

The EU Joint Programme – Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND) in partnership with the European Commission has launched the ‘JPco-fuND’ call for proposals aimed at supporting transnational research collaborations in three JPND priority areas:

  • Longitudinal Cohort Approaches;
  • Advanced Experimental Models;
  • Risk and Protective Factors.

The call will see more than 30 million euro being made available by JPND member countries, with a 10 million euro European Commission “topping up” fund.

Neurodegenerative Diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are a global health, economic and social emergency with numbers affected expected to double by 2030 and more than triple by 2050’ according to Professor Philippe Amouyel, Chair of the JPND Management Board. ‘With this in mind, JPND-participating countries have identified three further areas of greatest need for targeted investment in order to increase progress in the prevention and treatment of these diseases, as well as in patient care.

Professor Amouyel added ‘This call is launched as part of a major new cohesive action between JPND and the European Commission entitled JPco-fuND – the first concrete synergy between JPND and Horizon 2020 designed to address the global threat of neurodegenerative diseases’.

According to Professor Thomas Gasser, University of Tübingen and Chair of the JPND Scientific Advisory Board, ‘This call aims to pool the necessary expertise across Europe and globally to address these needs in the fight against neurodegenerative diseases. The call will support innovative, multi-disciplinary, collaborative research projects that will add value to the three research areas’.

The following neurodegenerative diseases are included for the three call topics outlined below:

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

Click here to link to the call for proposals webpage

Topic 1: Genetic, epigenetic and environmental risk and protective factors of neurodegenerative diseases

The aim of the first topic is to attract international teams of researchers who will explore the different processes at work in normal aging versus neurodegenerative aging and determine what role genetic and environmental factors can play. Factors such as family history, gender, stress levels, nutrition and others, can affect an individual’s risk, and provide protection from, or even resilience to, neurodegenerative diseases. However, it is likely that a combination of factors are involved, so a critical step will be to establish the relationship between genetic, epigenetic, environmental and social factors and their relative importance in order to identify those factors that can be changed or modified. This topic is a re-launch of the 2012 JPND call in this priority area. Details of the currently-supported JPND projects in this area are available here on the JPND website.

JPND countries participating in this topic (18) Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom

Topic 2: Longitudinal cohort approaches in neurodegenerative diseases

The goal of this topic is to further scientific progress at a transnational level by enhancing the capabilities of existing cohort studies, or by linking related cohort studies in a synergistic way. This may include bringing together well-characterised relevant cohort groups to harmonize, or make accessible, data to promote secondary analysis; adding new measurements, sample collections or data sweeps that add significant value or provide linkage to other studies; establishing novel assessment measures, taking advantage of new technologies, extending beyond the cognitive domain (i.e. motor and perceptual function) that can be applied to the broad spectrum of neurodegenerative diseases; delivering methodological developments or enhancements to establish cohorts as intervention platforms.

JPND countries participating in this topic (19) Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom

Topic 3: Advanced animal or cell experimental models of neurodegenerative diseases This topic aims to support the creation of experimental models that are more predictive of neurodegenerative diseases. This is a key barrier to progress in research as most of the current models are unable to take into account the multiple genetic and environmental factors that lead to the development of these diseases. However, in order to reproduce the complexity of these diseases there is a need for consensus in validating the platforms to be provided, which can only be achieved through a multidisciplinary approach that encompasses the best teams in a collaborative effort at a transnational level. Therefore, this topic encourages the implementation of a next generation of reliable and well characterized animal and cell models for neurodegenerative diseases. This may include the development of novel animal models for specific diseases to better reproduce the complexity of the clinical features of the disease in humans, the enhancement of existing animal models, e.g., by fostering a deeper characterization of the phenotypes and pathologies, and the exploitation of novel or the improvement of existing neuronal, neuronal-like cells or inducible pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, generated from different sources.

JPND countries participating in this topic (18) Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Turkey

Note 1: The call has a two-step procedure, with a first stage (pre-proposal submission) deadline of 23:59h C.E.T. on March 10th 2015.

Note 2: Proposals may cover more than one of the topics specified above, as long as the relevant work is carried out in a country that will financially support the topic. The balance of awards between the three topics will be decided by the Peer Review Panel and will depend on the quality of the applications. More information on the participating countries in each topic, in addition to specific grant practicalities is available on the call for proposals page here.

Note 3: Call applicants are encouraged to take advantage of the JPND online partnering tool to showcase their research group’s expertise, search for appropriate partners and pitch call-related ideas. An improved, multi-lingual version of the pilot tool is available on the JPND website here.

Note 4: This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement No. 643417 – JPcofuND.

The JPND Action Group on palliative and end-of-life care has published its report, bringing together for the first time an analysis of gaps and collation of needs and opportunities for neurodegeneration research across JPND countries.

JPND is currently investigating the available evidence and gaps in knowledge in palliative care research in the field of neurodegenerative diseases, with a view to implementing actions within the reach of its global research community.

A JPND Action Group on Palliative and End-of-Life Care met during 2014 and has reported back to JPND. The group was tasked with:

  • Analysing the nature and scale of relevant palliative and end-of-life care research initiatives among JPND member countries and EU-funded initiatives.
  • Consulting with the research community to establish the value of JPND actions.
  • Identifying the gaps within current palliative care research on ND and scoping the requirements to be considered in areas of unmet need.

Implementation of JPND actions in this area will be based on the advice in the report. These actions may include shared working across JPND member countries, funding of competitive calls, coordination of best practices and organization of transnational initiatives designed to share knowledge and provide training that does not currently exist in this research field.

The report can be downloaded at the link below.

As identified in the report, a number of implementation challenges will need to be overcome in order for JPND to support and facilitate research that informs how to shape palliative care across neurodegenerative diseases. The report also identified a number of areas where further thinking is specifically needed to provide the necessary consensus and framework to support future studies of impact for the field. These were:

  • Advance Care Planning which involves carer and family engagement in planning and decision-making over time.
  • The challenges of working with cognitive impairment in terms of communication, symptom management and end of life care.
  • The effectiveness of education + training interventions and linked competencies in practice for a range of generalist and specialist practitioners charged with the care of ND patients.
  • Engaging primary care providers (e.g. GPs, etc.) in palliative care planning.
  • Engaging with national voluntary groups and policy makers on actions and outcomes for ND

Priorities for action will be set by JPND Management Board for announcement in 2015.