Category Archives: JPND Press Releases

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) will shortly launch a call for “Multinational Research Projects for Pathway Analysis across Neurodegenerative Diseases”.

There is clinical, genetic and biochemical evidence that similar molecular pathways are relevant in different neurodegenerative and other chronic diseases. Therefore, JPND will launch a call for multidisciplinary proposals to perform network analyses across such diseases and to elucidate the underlying mechanisms involved. Research proposals may:

  • combine experimental approaches from fundamental, pre-clinical and/or clinical research
  • perform network analyses in different neurodegenerative and/or other chronic diseases to elucidate the underlying common and differing mechanisms in the investigated diseases
  • add value to existing research by analysing diseases across traditional clinical boundaries, technologies and disciplines, thereby gaining deeper understanding of the patho-physiological mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases

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)

Cross-disease analysis may solely comprise different neurodegenerative diseases or include other chronic diseases (e.g. chronic mental or physical disorders). Up to six research groups from at least three different countries may collaborate within a consortium.

This will be a two-step call, expected to be launched in early January 2017, with a likely pre-proposal submission deadline in March 2017. 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)

Ten international JPND working groups recommended for funding

The EU Joint Programme Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND) has released the results of a “rapid-action” call to support working groups of leading scientists to bring forward novel approaches that will enhance the use of brain imaging for neurodegenerative disease research.

Ten working groups have been recommended for funding to address the methodological challenges facing different imaging modalities, among them MRI, PET, ultrasound, MEG and EEG, as well as multimodal approaches. The working groups cover a range of neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Frontotemporal dementia and Huntington’s disease.

“Brain imaging has made enormous progress in recent years and is currently one of the most promising avenues in neurodegenerative disease research,” said Professor Thomas Gasser, Chair of the JPND Scientific Advisory Board. “If we can solve the challenges in the field, brain imaging could rapidly lead to faster and better diagnoses as well as a deeper understanding of the fundamental aspects and mechanisms of neurodegeneration.”

Although imaging techniques have brought about a dramatic improvement in the understanding of neurodegenerative diseases, there remain a number of significant challenges in the field. These include the execution of multi-centre clinical trials of an unprecedented scale, data transfer across imaging centres and the use of imaging for diagnostics and for measuring clinical outcomes.

To address these questions, on January 8, 2016, JPND launched a call for community-led working groups on harmonisation and alignment in brain imaging methods. The proposals recommended for funding are for top scientists to come together and propose, through ‘best practice’ guidelines and/or methodological frameworks, how to overcome key barriers to the use of imaging in neurodegenerative disease research.

The call attracted proposals with partners from across Europe and beyond, including Asia, Australia, North America and South America. A notable number of groups based in the United States were involved in responses to the call. Funding decisions were based upon scientific evaluation and recommendations to sponsor countries by a JPND peer review panel.

“This call perfectly embodies JPND’s mission and objectives,” said Professor Philippe Amouyel, Chair of the JPND Management Board. “The purpose of JPND is to strengthen coordination and collaboration in neurodegenerative disease research across different countries. We want to ensure that research efforts are not duplicated, to build consensus and to accelerate a path toward a cure that works. This call convenes groups of leading experts to hammer out the hard questions, including the challenges of interoperability and shared and open data, to allow researchers to more rapidly and more fully exploit imaging techniques going forward.”

Each working group is expected to run for a maximum of 9 months. The outputs of the working groups are to be produced by the end of the funding period, and will be published on the JPND website and used for further JPND actions. In addition, a common workshop will be organised to bring together and present the recommendations of each working group, encouraging the further exchange of ideas and wider dissemination to different stakeholder groups.

For more information on the working groups recommended for funding, 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.

 

The EU Joint Programme – Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND) has announced a EUR 30 million call for neurodegenerative disease research topped-up with EUR 10 million from the Horizon 2020 framework programme for research and innovation of the European Union.

Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are a truly global challenge.  Most of these diseases remain incurable and are strongly linked with aging populations. Dementias alone affect more than 7 million people in Europe and their care is estimated to cost  EUR 130 billion a year. The challenge facing the world of diagnosing, treating and caring for people affected by neurodegenerative diseases is extremely daunting and no single country alone has the expertise or resources necessary to tackle all of the big questions in this area.

JPND was established in 2009 to enable participating EU Member States to work together on the challenge of age-related neurodegenerative diseases, in particular Alzheimer’s. In the past five years, tremendous progress has been made by JPND in terms of increasing coordination, collaboration and alignment between national research programmes and projects related to neurodegenerative diseases.  This has resulted in an unprecedented mobilization of human resources, actions, funding and awareness to tackle this problem which no country can address alone.

JPND have announced a major new cohesive action with the European Commission, entitled ‘JPcofuND’. The initiative expects to launch a joint transnational call for proposals in January 2015 aimed at supporting international research collaborations in three JPND priority areas:  Longitudinal Cohorts, Animal and Cell Models, Risk and Protective Factors. This initiative will see more than EUR 30 million coming from the JPND member countries being made available, with an additional EUR 10 million European Commission “topping up” fund.

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

“this unique co-funded initiative further establishes concrete synergies with Horizon 2020 to address this global threat.Thisis a significant scale-up of implementation of the JPND research strategy, and a major step forward towards the realisation of a “European Research Area” dedicated to neurodegenerative disease research – an issue central to the joint programming concept.

European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas said:

“The EU Joint Programming approach tackles some of the major challenges we face as a society. Thanks to this new co-funded initiative of JPND and the European Commission, top European researchers will be working together to help the millions of people who suffer from Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. By making research more efficient and avoiding the duplication of work, this initiative will increase the prospects of real progress in the prevention and treatment of these diseases, as well as in patient care.”

A pre-call announcement, with the indicative titles of each topic, was made recently on the JPND website.  Further detail will be provided on this page on the call launch date in January 2015.

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

Media enquiries should be directed to:

Derick Mitchell

dmitchell@jpnd.eu

+353 1 442 9015

The first G8 Summit on dementia is being held in London on December 11th, 2013

The G8 Dementia Summit will bring together, for the first time, health ministers from around the world with the aim of stimulating investment in dementia research, improving the prevention and treatment of dementia, and improving quality of life for people with dementia. 

‘The G8 Summit in London presents a unique opportunity for international leaders to tackle dementia on a global scale and represents a large step forward in raising awareness and promoting the need for increased research in this area’, according to Professor Philippe Amouyel, Chair of the JPND Management Board. 

The number of people living with dementia worldwide in 2013 is now estimated at 44 million – a figure set to triple within a generation.  With no single country having the resources to combat dementia alone, the G8 summit is therefore a very positive step towards international commitments to increase research investments and improve coordination of dementia research.

‘As the largest global research initiative aimed at tackling the challenge of neurodegenerative diseases, in particular Alzheimer’s, JPND is looking forward to working with the new plans and initiatives emerging from the summit’, said Professor Amouyel.  ‘JPND has developed a widely recognized research strategy and accumulated a large experience in large collaborative programs in dementia that can help to accelerate the development of future G8 proposals, as suggested by a recent editorial in The Lancet Neurology’.

JPND brings together researchers, national funding bodies and the existing research evidence in 27 countries to investigate the key research questions and barriers to progress in the area of neurodegenerative diseases.

G8 Countries:
Canada, France, Germany, Italy Japan, Russia, United Kingdom, United States of America (with representation from the European Union)

JPND-participating Countries:
Albania, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom

The summit declaration and comminique were released on Dec. 11th 2013.  You can  download both at the file links below:

JPND has launched two calls for proposals aimed at encouraging research teams across Europe to investigate the cross-disease pathways in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and to identify new, innovative preventive strategies for these debilitating conditions.

‘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 two further areas of greatest need for targeted investment in order to improve understanding of the underlying links between different diseases, and to encourage new ideas on preventive strategies’.

Professor Amouyel added ‘This investment is part of a series of JPND funding initiatives, aimed at addressing priority areas identified in our European Research Strategy.  This year’s calls will see over 23 million euro made available to applicants from 18 different countries’.

According to Professor Thomas Gasser, University of Tübingen and Chair of the JPND Scientific Advisory Board,  ‘Neurodegenerative diseases currently cannot be cured, prevented, or even substantially slowed. In order to tackle these diseases together, we need greater thinking across traditional clinical boundaries and new, innovative ideas aimed at preventing disease development and progression in healthy, at-risk and early-stage populations. These calls aim to harness the necessary expertise across Europe and globally to address these needs in the fight against these diseases’. 

The following neurodegenerative diseases are included for both calls:

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

Call 1: Cross-Disease Analysis of Pathways
There is clinical, genetic and biochemical evidence that similar molecular pathways are relevant in different neurodegenerative and other chronic diseases. Therefore, clinical phenotypes alone seem insufficient to provide an understanding of the underlying mechanisms involved, and to be the sole basis for prognosis and diagnosis of neurodegenerative diseases.   This call is for multidisciplinary proposals (e.g. combining fundamental, pre-clinical and/or clinical research with computational approaches) to perform network analyses in different neurodegenerative and other chronic diseases to elucidate the underlying mechanisms involved.  The combined analysis of diseases across traditional clinical boundaries may lead to a re-definition of clinical phenotypes and new approaches in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.

JPND Countries Participating in this call: 
Belgium, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Turkey

Call 2:  Pilot Studies on Preventive Strategies
Recent results from epidemiological studies in aging suggest that preventive strategies may modify both the risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases and of symptom progression. However, it is not yet known whether these findings can be translated into efficacious preventive strategies that specifically target healthy persons, at risk populations or early stage patients with neurodegenerative diseases. Therefore, more research is needed to develop proof-of-concept for the design of prevention trials aimed to investigate the effect of complex interventions. JPND is launching this call for proposals in order to encourage interdisciplinary “pilot” studies for the design of preventive strategies related to neurodegenerative diseases.

JPND Countries Participating in this call:
Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Turkey

Note:
Both calls are two-step, with a first stage (pre-proposal submission) deadline of February 18th (Cross-Disease Analysis) and February 20th (Preventive Strategies), 2014, respectively.   

For these calls, JPND is piloting an online partnering tool to assist potential applicants to the currently open calls, in their search for partners and formation of consortia.  It is believed that this tool will especially benefit early-career researchers and research groups not normally included in established consortia.

More information on the calls is available at: http://www.neurodegenerationresearch.eu/initiatives/annual-calls-for-proposals/open-calls/

Media enquiries should be directed to:
Derick Mitchelldmitchell@hrb.ie+353 1 2345103

JPND is inviting calls for proposals from research teams across Europe to increase understanding of the factors that put people at risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and also to evaluate health and social care strategies for people living with these debilitating illnesses.

‘The incidence of Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s is exploding due to aging populations, which are creating huge social, economic and healthcare impacts across the world’ according to Professor Philippe Amouyel, Chair of the JPND Management Board.   ‘With this in mind, European Member States have identified these two areas of greatest need for targeted investment in order to delay progression or prevent ND and to improve the care provided for those living with these diseases and their carers’. Professor Amouyel added ‘This investment is part of a series of annual JPND funding initiatives over the next three years, aimed at addressing priority areas identified in our European Research Strategy.  This year’s calls will see approximately 25 million euro made available to applicants from over 20 countries.

According to Professor Thomas Gasser, University of Tübingen and Chair of the JPND Scientific Advisory Board, ‘these actions are an important step towards realising the ultimate goal of JPND – finding causes, developing cures, and identifying appropriate ways to care for those with neurodegenerative diseases’.

The following neurodegenerative diseases are included for both calls:

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

Call 1: Assessing risk factors for ND
The first call for proposals aims 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. 

Modern research techniques have allowed researchers to create models of risk and protective factors.  The aim of this call is to engage researchers to use these techniques and apply them to neurodegenerative diseases. The ultimate aim will be to use the knowledge generated to develop strategies that can delay or even prevent these diseases.

Call 2: Evaluating health and social care policies, strategies and interventions for ND
It is widely accepted that better integration and coordination of approaches to health and social care across Europe would help to reduce costs and improve the quality of care for patients with ND and their carers.  In order to tackle this issue, the first step has to be an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of formal (e.g. hospitals) and informal (family- and home-based) care. Establishing what works best will create a firm foundation to support new initiatives that tackle inequality and inefficiency and build equal, fair and efficient health and social care systems for ND.

This call asks research teams to assess and compare the policies, strategies and interventions related to neurodegenerative disease care, with regard to quality, access and cost-effectiveness. Examples of areas to be evaluated include care pathways, psychosocial interventions, end-of-life strategies, and educational programmes that benefit not just persons with neurodegenerative diseases, but also their carers and families.  The call will also seek proposals to improve the various outcome measures currently used to assess the impact of healthcare and social care interventions on the quality of life of patients and carers – for example inclusion of the patients’ and carers’ perspective. 

More information on the participating countries in both calls, in addition to specific grant practicalities is available at http://www.neurodegenerationresearch.eu/initiatives/2012-joint-transnational-calls/open-calls/

Media enquiries should be directed to:
Derick Mitchelldmitchell@hrb.ie+353 1 2345103

Research leaders and stakeholders from across Europe will gather today in Brussels for the launch of a European-wide strategy to coordinate and prioritize research aimed at tackling the enormous challenge of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease.

The EU Joint Programme in Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND) is the first of the European Joint Programming initiatives which are designed to address the ‘grand challenges’ facing EU society in the coming years. These challenges are considered beyond the scope and resources of any one country to tackle.

Welcoming the JPND strategy, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said: “I am delighted to welcome this common strategy, agreed under this unprecedented collaborative initiative in research, to channel participating countries’ scientific competencies, medical strengths and social approaches to tackle this important challenge. The JPND strategy can not only make research efforts more effective in the area of neurodegenerative diseases but can also have very wide benefits for society, health and the research community in Europe.”

Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are debilitating and largely untreatable conditions that are strongly linked with age. Amongst these disorders, the dementias are responsible for the greatest burden of disease, with Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders affecting over 7 million people in Europe, and this figure is expected to double every 20 years as the population ages. It currently costs approximately €130 billion per annum to care for people with dementia across Europe, highlighting age-related neurodegenerative disease as one of the leading medical and societal challenges faced by EU society.

The strategy sets out the common vision of the 25 European countries involved, and provides a strategic approach to support world-class research that can exploit emerging scientific opportunities, confront barriers to progress, and provide new approaches to prevention, intervention and care.

“This common Research Strategy will guide research activity and investments in the field of neurodegenerative diseases over the coming decade in Europe”, says Professor Philippe Amouyel, Chair of the JPND Management Board. “The ultimate goal is to undertake research that can be translated into new interventions that improve the health and wellbeing of patients with neurodegenerative diseases and their families and carers, and that delivers economic and societal benefit throughout the European Union”, he said.
 
The goals of the European-wide strategy are;

  • To develop new treatments and preventive strategies
  • To improve health and social care approaches
  • To raise awareness and de-stigmatise Alzheimer’s and other Neurodegenerative disorders
  • To alleviate the economic and social burden of these diseases

JPND is working to implement these goals through;

  • building capacity in excellent basic, clinical and healthcare/social research
  • coordinating and aligning European and national research activities
  • translating research evidence into clinical, social and public health practice
  • partnering with industry, patient, carer and health service stakeholders, and decision makers

The strategy is based on the recommendations of the JPND Scientific Advisory Board which constitutes fifteen of the very best scientists and physicians from the research areas related to neurodegenerative diseases. Extensive consultations with over 140 scientists and multiple stakeholder communities were also conducted and recommendations were validated through a broad public consultation. Research priorities identified in the strategy include investigating the origins of neurodegenerative disease; studying disease mechanisms and models; exploring disease definitions and diagnosis; developing therapies, preventive strategies and interventions; improving healthcare and social care. 

“The recommendations outlined address the full spectrum of research and approaches that are required to achieve impact, and recognise the important role that other stakeholder groups including research funding agencies, patient and carer organisations and industry representatives have in delivering this agenda” says Professor Thomas Gasser, Chair of the JPND Scientific Advisory Board.

Identified JPND priorities will be addressed within the next ten years through a range of long-term, medium-to-large-scale, programmatic initiatives.  In order to implement and deliver its strategy, JPND is recognising the importance of engagement and partnership with industry, patient and carer organisations, research funding agencies and the European Commission. Working Groups are already classifying priorities according to scale, impact, and agreed timelines, and it is expected that the first of the implementation initiatives will emerge during 2012.

For more information, click on the link below: