Author Archives: jpnd

On 27 th May 2021, JPND held a virtual workshop at the annual Dementia Forum X where participants gathered ideas and insights from the world’s leading researchers, policy makers and stakeholders in the field of dementia.

Titled Patient and Public Involvement in Research (PPI), the workshop introduced JPND and its PPI journey. JPND Chair, Professor Philippe Amouyel, kickstarted the workshop with a brief introduction on JPND, its goals and its longstanding engagement in PPI. Under the expertise of Professor Mogens Hørder, JPND’s management board member and representative of member state Denmark, JPND developed a concrete strategy for the implementation of PPI in 2015. Implemented as a learning process and in parallel with JPND’s annual calls, offering the best platform to showcase PPI, researchers are able to truly understand what PPI in research means and how to handle PPI in research.

Moderated by Richard Andersson, JPND’s management board member and representative from the Swedish Research Council and Alexandra Rodrigues, JPND’s representative from Innovation Fund Denmark, the workshop was capped and attended by 50 participants and many more who showed up to listen. JPND took this opportunity to showcase two pre-recorded interviews by PPI expert Professor Mogens Hørder, and Mr Chris Roberts, Chairperson for the European Working Group of People with Dementia under Alzheimer Europe and Ms Jayne Goodrick, member of the Carers Advisory Panel for Dementia Carer Counts.

Professor Hørder talked about the importance and value of PPI in research (click here for his interview) and Mr Chris Roberts and Ms Jayne Goodrick shared their personal experiences of living with dementia as a patient and a carer (click here for their interview) respectively. Guest speaker and Vice-Chair of the JPND Scientific Advisory Board, Professor Martin Rossor, discussed the concept of “patient” in PPI. He also emphasised the need to take into account participants' former experiences when engaging in PPI.

Through both live and chat sessions, participants engaged with one another and posed questions ranging from what should be done and avoided to ensure an enriching and meaningful PPI experience in dementia research for both patients and researchers; how and when clinicians can match and mediate interactions between patients and researchers, to how researchers and patients can be guided and trained on the formal and informal aspects of PPI.

The workshop was a success in creating greater awareness to JPND’s engagement of PPI in research and providing participants and stakeholders a platform to connect, and share their views about PPI’s best practices.

PARIS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–JPND is inviting multi-national research teams to submit proposals aimed at identifying and measuring physiological effects and related biomarkers that can be linked to the development of neurodegenerative diseases.

Neurodegenerative diseases are debilitating and largely untreatable conditions that are strongly linked with age. Worldwide, there are estimated to be 47 million people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. This figure is expected to double every 20 years as the population ages. The development of efficient treatments for most neurodegenerative diseases is hindered by the fact that their detection intervenes at late stages by which time the integrity of the nervous tissue has been compromised. Poorly characterised early physiological disturbances known to appear before unambiguous symptoms of each neurodegenerative disease are detected. These changes may include, among others, the disruption of sleep, olfaction, hearing, vision, metabolic factors as well as social engagement. All these signs have the potential to be used as early indicators of later diseases, and in most cases, are measurable in natural daily life environments. Hence, the identification of the circuits and molecular pathways being affected might reveal promising targets for early interventions and therapies for neurodegenerative diseases.

In this context, JPND announced a new joint transnational call inviting multi-national research teams to submit proposals for ambitious, innovative and multi-disciplinary collaborative projects that aim at the detection, measurement and understanding of early disease indicators related to neurodegenerative diseases, with potential for the development of new diagnostics or interventions.

Professor Philippe Amouyel, Chair of the JPND Management Board says, “One of the major limitations of neurodegenerative diseases is their sneaky sub-clinical course that can last for years before the first symptoms appear. Very often, clinicians have noticed a posteriori that these symptoms had been preceded many years before by disturbances of major physiological functions. Thus bringing together research forces in Europe and beyond through JPND will allow us to better understand the pathophysiological mechanisms of the appearance of neurodegenerative diseases. In addition, this will help to identify early indicators of their occurrence before the neuronal potential is too altered, facilitating the implementation of treatments.”

Proposals submitted under this call, which is open to applicants in 22 countries, must focus on one or several of the following neurodegenerative diseases: Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, Parkinson’s disease and PD-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.

Proposals must also focus on one or several of the following research areas:

  • Demonstrating the relationship between early neurodegenerative processes and physiological disturbances,
  • Applying cutting-edge methods or technologies to improve the detection of early symptoms,
  • Human or animal studies to decipher the neurodegeneration-derived processes causing early disease-specific signatures,
  • Using digital technologies to link recognisable symptoms to physiological changes associated to neurodegeneration,
  • Relating prognostic signs of disease with real-life measurement of physiological disturbances using home-monitoring and/or wearable devices, including wireless sensors for patient monitoring.

Pre-proposals must be submitted no later than 15:00h C.E.T. on March 2, 2021.

For more information about the call, please click here.

 

A CALL FOR LINKING PRE-DIAGNOSIS DISTURBANCES OF PHYSIOLOGICAL SYSTEMS TO NEURODEGENERATIVE DISEASES

The EU Joint Programme – Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND) initiative has announced an €19 million transnational call for multinational research on linking pre-diagnosis disturbances of physiological systems to neurodegenerative diseases.

Neurodegenerative diseases are debilitating and largely untreatable conditions that are strongly linked with age. Worldwide, there are estimated to be 47 million people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders, the most common class of neurodegenerative diseases. This figure is expected to double every 20 years as the population ages. The total direct and informal care costs of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and related disorders are in the range of €105-160 billion per year across the European Union and about US$ one trillion worldwide. Existing treatments for neurodegenerative diseases are limited in effect and mainly address the symptoms rather than the cause or the progressive course. In this context, the EU Joint Programme – 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 diseases.

The development of efficient treatments for most neurodegenerative diseases is hindered by the fact that their detection intervenes at late stages by which time the integrity of the nervous tissue has been compromised. Poorly characterised early physiological disturbances known to appear before unambiguous symptoms of each neurodegenerative disease are detected. These changes may include, among others, the disruption of sleep, olfaction, hearing, vision, metabolic factors as well as social engagement. All these signs have the potential to be used as early indicators of later diseases, and in most cases have the advantage that they are measurable in natural daily life environments. Since some of these changes are very likely early indicators of nervous system dysfunction, the identification of the circuits and molecular pathways being affected might reveal promising targets for early interventions and therapies for neurodegenerative diseases.

In this context, JPND announced today a new joint transnational call inviting multi-national research teams to submit proposals for ambitious, innovative and multi-disciplinary collaborative projects that aim at the detection, measurement and understanding of early disease indicators related to neurodegenerative diseases, with potential for the development of new diagnostics or interventions.

One of the major limitations of neurodegenerative diseases is their sneaky sub-clinical course that can last for years before the first symptoms appear. Very often, clinicians have noticed a posteriori that these symptoms had been preceded many years before by disturbances of major physiological functions. Thus bringing together research forces in Europe and beyond through JPND will allow us to better understand the pathophysiological mechanisms of the appearance of neurodegenerative diseases. In addition, this will help to identify early indicators of their occurrence before the neuronal potential is too altered, facilitating the implementation of treatments.” says Professor Philippe Amouyel, Chair of the JPND Management Board.

Proposals submitted under this call must focus on one or several of the following neurodegenerative diseases: Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, Parkinson’s disease and PD-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.

In addition, proposals must focus on one or several of the following research areas:

  • Demonstrating the relationship between early neurodegenerative processes and physiological disturbances, e.g. by analysing existing cohorts and longitudinal data.
  • Applying cutting-edge methods or technologies to improve the detection of early symptoms, e.g. by establishing innovative biomarkers and increasing the sensitivity, specificity and/or the robustness of the readouts.
  • Human or animal studies to decipher the neurodegeneration-derived processes causing early disease-specific signatures, e.g. on the neuropathological, cellular, synaptic, metabolic or inflammatory level. The use of well-characterised human cohorts’ data is encouraged.
  • Using digital technologies to link recognisable symptoms to physiological changes associated to neurodegeneration, e.g. by combining clinical, neurophysiological, biochemical, imaging and psychological data.
  • Relating prognostic signs of disease with real-life measurement of physiological disturbances using home-monitoring and/or wearable devices, including wireless sensors for patient monitoring.

Pre-proposals must be submitted no later than 15:00h C.E.T. on March 2, 2021.

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.

Final call information will be published on the JPND website (www.jpnd.eu).

 

The EU Joint Programme on Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND) has awarded funding to twelve multi-national research teams in order to enable research projects on Novel Imaging and Brain Stimulation Methods and Technologies, that may in time bring about the delivery of targeted and timely prevention and therapies for patients of neurodegenerative diseases.

Major increases in the range and power of technologies across the basic, clinical and patient-centred domains of JPND have been seen in recent years. These include the use of imaging and analysis technologies, from Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to Position Emission Tomography (PET) to Molecular Imaging at both a molecular and a whole body imaging level, and the use of brain stimulation techniques such as Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS), Neuromodulation and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). Whilst techniques as such help to better understand, treat or diagnose neurodegenerative diseases, there is a need to assess the potential of these approaches to deliver new and better treatment options for these debilitating diseases.

JPND has selected twelve teams with ambitious, innovative, multinational and multidisciplinary collaborative research projects aimed at the development of novel and the advanced use of existing cutting-edge imaging and brain stimulation technologies related to neurodegenerative diseases.

“The incredible progresses of brain imaging and brain stimulation during the last ten years, thanks to the development of new technologies, bioinformatics and artificial intelligence, offers new opportunities to better diagnose and alleviate the consequences of neurodegenerative diseases”, says Professor Philippe Amouyel, Chair of JPND. “Twelve ambitious and innovative research projects that will take stock of these new approaches to deliver new and better treatment options have been selected and will be supported by JPND.”

The twelve 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 results page here.

 

BioClotAD
Development of a neuroimaging biomarker to identify the pro-coagulant state in Alzheimer’s disease

Coordinator:
Marta Cortes-Canteli, Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares Carlos III, F.S.P., Spain

Partners:
Manuel Desco Menéndez, Hospital General Gregorio Marañón, Spain
Dag Sehlin, Uppsala University, Sweden
Susanne Kossatz, Klinikum rechts der Isar der Technischen Universität München, Germany

Scientific Abstract

 

BRAINSTORM
gloBal RetinAl Imaging coNSorTium fOR alzheiMer’s disease

Coordinator:
Peter van Wijngaarden, Centre for Eye Research Australia, Australia

Partners:
Ingeborg Stalmans, KU Leuven University, Belgium
Gauti Johannesson, Umeå University, Sweden

Scientific Abstract

DEBBIE
Developing a non-invasive biomarker for early BBB breakdown in Alzheimer’s disease

Coordinator:
Matthias Günther, Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, Germany

Partners:
Eric Achten, Ghent University, Belgium
Henri J.M.M. Mutsaerts, Amsterdam University Medical Center, Netherlands
Udunna Anazodo, Lawson Health Research Institute, Canada
Tormod Fladby, Akershus University Hospital, Norway

Scientific Abstract

DynaSti
Patient-specific dynamical modeling and optimization of Deep Brain Stimulation

Coordinator:
Andreas Horn, Charité – University Medicine Berlin, Germany

Partners:
Bernadette van Wijk, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
Martijn Beudel, Amsterdam University Medical Centers, Netherlands
Jorge Goncalves, University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg
Alexander Medvedev, Uppsala University, Sweden
Dag Nyholm, Uppsala University Hospital, Sweden
Frank Hertel, Centre Hospitalier de Luxembourg, Luxembourg

Scientific Abstract

 

ImageTDP43
Imaging heterogeneous TDP-43 neuropathologies

Coordinator:
Magdalini Polymenidou, University of Zurich, Switzerland

Partners:
Patrizia Longone, Fondazione Santa Lucia, Italy
Ruben Smith, Skåne University Hospital, Sweden
John van Swieten, Erasmus Medical Center, Netherlands

 

NEURIPIDES

NEURofeedback for self-stImulation of the brain as therapy for ParkInson DisEaSe

Coordinator:
David Linden, Maastricht University, Netherlands

Partners:
Veerle Visser-Vandewalle, University of Cologne, Germany
Robert Jech, Charles University, Czech Republic
Béchir Jarraya, Université de Versailles-Paris-Saclay, France
Alfonso Fasano, University Health Network, Canada

Scientific Abstract

 

NIPARK
Targeting neuromelanin-linked neuronal dysfunction and degeneration in ageing and Parkinson’s disease using a combined imaging and brain stimulation approach

Coordinator:
Miquel Vila, Vall d’Hebron Research Institute, Spain

Partners:
Stephane Lehericy, Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle épinière, France
Matthias Prigge, Leibniz-Institut für Neurobiologie, Germany
Matthew Betts, Deutsches Zentrum für Neurodegenerative Erkrankungen, Germany

Scientific Abstract

 

NeuroPhage
Phage-based targeted neural stimulation in neurodegenerative diseases

Coordinator:
Fabio Benfenati, Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico, Italy

Partners:
Kenneth Dawson, University College Dublin, Ireland
Kristof Zarschler, Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf, Germany
Ludek Šefc, Charles University, Czech Republic
Gilberto Fisone, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden
Jean-Antoine Girault, INSERM, France

Scientific Abstract

 

PDWALK
Spinal-cord stimulation technologies and methods to alleviate gait deficits of Parkinson’s disease

Coordinator:
Grégoire Courtine, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne, Switzerland

Partners:
Jocelyne Bloch, University Hospital of Lausanne, Switzerland
Erwan Bezard, CNRS, France
Vincent Delattre, Gtx Medical BV, Netherlands

Scientific Abstract

 

PETABC
PET analyses of ABC transporter function for diagnostics and stratification of dementia patients

Coordinator:
Jens Pahnke, University of Oslo, Norway

Partners:
Oliver Langer, Medical University Vienna, Austria
Peter Brust, Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf, Germany
Baiba Jansone, Univiersity of Latvia, Latvia
Ondrej Soukup, University Hospital Hradec Králové, Czech Republic
Fabien Gosselet, Universite d’Artois, France
Henrik Biverstål, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden

Scientific Abstract

 

REMOPD
Restoring Motor Functions in Parkinson’s Disease with Noninvasive Hybrid Transcranial Neuromodulation

Coordinator:
Saak V. Ovsepian, National Institute of Mental Health, Czech Republic

Partners:
Robert Chen, University of Toronto, Canada
Marc Fournelle, Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, Germany
Nevzat G. Gençer, Middle East Technical University, Turkey
Walter Paulus, Ludwig Maximillians Universität München, Germany
Toygan Sönmez, Alvimedica Medical Technologies, Turkey

Scientific Abstract

 

SCAIFIELD
Spinocerebellar ataxias: Advanced imaging with ultra-high field MRI

Coordinator:
Tony Stöcker, Deutsches Zentrum für Neurodegenerative Erkrankungen, Germany

Partners:
Pål Erik Goa, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway
Pierre Maquet, Liège Université, Belgium
Thomas Klockgether, Deutsches Zentrum für Neurodegenerative Erkrankungen, Germany

Scientifc Abstract

 

* Please note this is a provisional decision. The final approval from national funding agencies is still ongoing.

 

 

A CALL FOR NOVEL IMAGING AND BRIAN STIMULATION METHODS AND TECHNOLOGIES RELATED TO NEURODEGENERATIVE DISEASES

The EU Joint Programme – Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND) initiative has announced an €18 million transnational call for multinational research on novel imaging and brain stimulation methods and technologies for neurodegenerative diseases.

With neurodegenerative diseases on the rise and strongly linked to age, as many as 47 millon people worldwide are estimated to be suffering from Alzheimer’s and related disorders today. This figure is expected to double every 20 years as the population ages.

In recent years, major increases in the range and power of technologies across the basic, clinical and patient-centred domains of JPND have been seen. These include the use of imaging and analysis technologies, from Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to Position Emission Tomography (PET) to Molecular Imaging at both a molecular and a whole body imaging level, and the use of brain stimulation techniques such as Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS), Neuromodulation and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). Whilst techniques as such help to better understand, treat or diagnose neurodegenerative diseases, there is nevertheless a need to assess the potential of these approaches to deliver new and better treatment options for these debilitating diseases. 

In this context, JPND announced a new call, inviting multinational research teams to submit proposals for ambitious, innovative, multinational and multidisciplinary collaborative research projects aimed at the development of novel and the advanced use of existing cutting-edge imaging and brain stimulation technologies related to neurodegenerative diseases.

Professor Philippe Amouyel, University of Lille (France) and Chair of the JPND Management Board says: "The incredible progresses of brain imaging and brain stimulation during the last ten years, thanks to the development of new technologies, bioinformatics and artificial intelligence, offers new opportunities to better diagnose and alleviate the consequences of neurodegenerative diseases. For its 2020 transnational call, JPND has decided to support ambitious and innovative research projects that will take stock of these new approaches in a trans-disciplinary context. We hope that this highly competitive call will allow us to assess the potential of these approaches to deliver new and better treatment options.”

Proposals submitted under this call must focus on one or several of the following neurodegenerative diseases: Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, Parkinson’s disease and PD-related disorders, Prion diseases, Motor neuron diseases, Spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA), Huntington’s disease, Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).

In addition, proposals must focus one or several of the following research areas:

  • Imaging technologies
  • Development of novel imaging technologies
  • Improvements to the application of existing cutting-edge imaging technologies
  • Brain stimulation techniques
  • New or improved applications of both invasive and non invasive brain stimulation techniques for the diagnosis and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases

Pre-proposals must be submitted no later than 15:00h C.E.T. on March 3, 2020.

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.

Final call information will be published on the JPND website (www.jpnd.eu).

Press release English*

Press release French*

Press release German*

*Correction: In our English and French press releases, the date for pre-proposal submissions is listed as 6th March 2020. This is an error. The correct date for pre-proposal submissions is 3rd March 2020. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

The EU Joint Programme – Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND) will shortly launch a new multinational call for proposals for “Novel imaging and brain stimulation methods and technologies related to Neurodegenerative Diseases”.

Recent years have seen major increases in the range and power of these technologies across the basic, clinical and patient-centred domains of JPND. This joint transnational call will further promote research aiming at the development of novel and the advanced use of existing cutting-edge brain imaging and brain stimulation technologies related to neurodegenerative diseases. Approaches must be translational and patient-centered.

The upcoming call will focus on the following research areas:

Imaging technologies, such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Position Emission Tomography or super-resolution microscopy and molecular imaging techniques have brought about a dramatic improvement in the understanding of the onset, development and progression of neurodegenerative diseases. It is the aim to accelerate this progress and to fund research projects that focus on the development of novel imaging technologies or on improvements to the application of existing cutting-edge imaging technologies.

Brain stimulation techniques, such as Deep Brain Stimulation, have proven to directly affect the quality of life of patients. Other techniques, such as Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, transcranial Direct Current Stimulation or Focused Ultrasound could have potential to offer new non-invasive treatments. It is the aim to fund research that will lead to new or improved applications of both invasive and non-invasive brain stimulation techniques for the diagnosis and the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.

The following funding organisations intend to support this joint transnational call:

  • Australia, National Health and Medical Research Council*
  • Austria, Austrian Research Promotion Agency on behalf of BMBWF
  • Belgium, The Research Foundation – Flanders
  • Belgium, The Fund for Scientific Research
  • Canada, Canadian Institutes of Health Research
  • Czech Republic, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports*
  • Denmark, Innovation Fund Denmark*
  • France, French National Research Agency*
  • Germany, Federal Ministry of Education and Research
  • Hungary, National Research, Development and Innovation Office*
  • Ireland, Health Research Board
  • Italy, Ministry of Health*
  • Latvia, State Education Development Agency*
  • Luxembourg, National Research Fund
  • Netherlands, The Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development*
  • Norway, The Research Council of Norway*
  • Poland, National Science Centre*
  • Spain, National Institute of Health Carlos III
  • Sweden, Swedish Financial Council
  • Switzerland, Swiss National Science Foundation
  • Turkey, Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey*

* Decision pending

This will be a two-step call, expected to be launched in early January 2020, with a likely pre-proposal submission deadline in March 2020. 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 JPND website (www.jpnd.eu).

Scientists know that faulty proteins can cause harmful deposits or "aggregates" in neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. Although the causes of these protein deposits remain a mystery, it is known that abnormal aggregates can result when cells fail to
transmit proper genetic information to proteins.

Researchers from the University of California San Diego first highlighted this cause of brain disease more than 10 years ago. Today, they have identified a gene, Ankrd16, that prevents the protein aggregates they originally observed. Usually, the information transfer from gene to protein is carefully controlled — biologically "proofread" and corrected — to avoid the production of improper proteins.
Recent research identified that Ankrd16 rescued specific neurons — called Purkinje cells — that die when proofreading fails. Without normal levels of Ankrd16, these nerve cells, located in the cerebellum, incorrectly activate the amino acid serine, which is then improperly incorporated into proteins, causing protein aggregation.

The levels of Ankrd16 are normally low in Purkinje cells, making these neurons vulnerable to proofreading defects. Raising the level of Ankrd16 protects these cells from dying, while removing Ankrd16 from other neurons in mice with a proofreading deficiency caused widespread buildup of abnormal proteins and ultimately neuronal death. The researchers note that only a few modifier genes of disease mutations such as Ankrd16 have been identified and a modifier-based mechanism for understanding the underlying pathology of neurodegenerative diseases may be a promising route to understanding disease development.

Paper: “ANKRD16 prevents neuron loss caused by an editing-defective tRNA synthetase.”

Reprinted by materials provided by: The University of California – San Diego

The EU Joint Programme – Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND) initiative[1] has launched its updated global Research and Innovation Strategy (RIS), to provide a unified framework for the support of world class research into neurodegenerative diseases.

Neurodegenerative diseases are one of the world’s leading medical and societal challenges and there are now expected to be 50 million people worldwide suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. Globally, these numbers show no signs of abating, and it is estimated that by 2050 in Europe alone, the total direct and informal care costs for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease will exceed €350 billion annually.[2]

JPND is the first and largest collaborative research initiative established to tackle the growing challenge posed by neurodegenerative diseases. JPND’s ultimate goal is to accelerate the discovery of a cure and to enable early diagnosis for early personalised treatments. In the meantime, it is essential to implement solutions that can alleviate, albeit partially, the plight of families and the economic burden brought about by the increasing prevalence of this disease in our ageing populations. Thus besides basic research, the scientific endeavour concerns also translational and clinical, and social care and health services researches.

Today’s release of the Research and Innovation Strategy (RIS) updates the common vision of 30 JPND member countries. It renews the strategy that was first published in 2012, to tackle the major societal challenge of neurodegenerative diseases.

JPND speaks to the following individuals about the RIS.

Dr Barbara Kerstiëns, Head of the unit responsible for Non-Communicable Diseases and the Challenge of Healthy Ageing in the European Commissions' Directorate-General for Research & Innovation says: The European Commission is keenly aware that Neurodegenerative Diseases is one of the leading medical and societal challenges of our time. It recognises that JPND has been instrumental in addressing these by aligning and coordinating national efforts among Member States and other countries, reducing fragmentation and duplication in research and overall increasing the effectiveness and impact of research in this field.

JPND’s ambitious new RIS invites multidisciplinary and cross-sectoral collaboration as well as engagement with patients, their families and carers. Its five scientific priorities cover the full spectrum of unmet needs – the knowledge gap, the prevention gap, the early diagnosis and disease management gap, as well as the growing socio-economic challenges of caring for and assisting people faced with those diseases. The strategy takes important factors relating to ND care into account, such as comorbidities, sex and gender differences, the role of ageing and the complex ethical issues. Moreover, the RIS recommendations are in line with the Commission’s priorities in fostering innovative partnerships, taking advantage of the latest advances in digital technologies, including artificial intelligence, promoting an Open Access approach and translating research findings into evidenced-based public health policies and, ultimately, better health and social care.”

Professor Philippe Amouyel, University of Lille (France) and Chair of the JPND Management Board says: The challenge is to tackle neurodegeneration, and in particular, Alzheimer’s disease through an unprecedented collaboration at the European level and beyond. The ultimate goal is to facilitate the cooperation of researchers, to reduce fragmentation, to prevent unnecessary doubling of efforts and to pool and organise resources on a voluntary basis for the benefit of the populations. Our RIS forms the basis for current and future JPND initiatives, as well as a fundamental reference point for the national and organisational strategic plans. It provides a global common framework for future investment that addresses how countries can effectively improve prevention, diagnosis, treatment and patient care.

JPND Scientific Advisory Board Chair, Professor Thomas Gasser says:Since the publication of our first RIS in 2012, there have been major advances, both scientific and technological, that have shaped the renewed RIS. Data science, including artificial intelligence-driven methods of data analyses, has transformed many research areas, and this is now reflected in the updated Strategy. Another important issue reflected in the renewed Strategy is the increasing awareness that the inclusion of factors like economic and cultural differences, gender issues and public and patient involvement must clearly play a more prominent role.”  Click here for JPND’s full interview with Prof Gasser.

Professor Mogens Hørder, JPND Management Board Member says: “Since the 2012 research strategy, there has been an increased alignment of goals and methodologies being built up among research institutions of JPND members. The renewed RIS sees the participation of important players outside of Europe in JPND, which forms a valuable basis for the role of JPND in the global investment in neurodegenerative disease research.

For JPND Executive Board member Dr Jacqueline Hoogendam, “the value of collaborative research should not be underestimated.” She says: “With the common vision adopted by the 30 JPND member countries, JPND enables neurodegenerative disease research in the most pressing areas at a global level, with efficient use of limited resources. In bringing together researchers from different countries whose collaborations extend beyond their joint research activities, JPND contributes to the development of the global community of neurodegenerative disease researchers.

JPND is committed to aligning and building upon national programmes to increase impact and effectiveness of research and to identify common goals that would benefit from joint action.

JPND has identified a number of thematic scientific priorities for future research:

  • The origins and progression of neurodegenerative diseases
  • Disease mechanisms and models
  • Diagnosis, prognosis and disease definitions
  • Developing therapies, preventive strategies and interventions
  • Health and social care

JPND is working to implement the above goals through:

  • Building supportive infrastructure and platforms via harmonisation of data and materials and promotion of an open access approach to the sharing of data and resources
  • Partnering with industry and healthcare providers and promoting innovation within a multi-partner international funding framework
  • Developing greater interaction with regulators to integrate patient needs
  • Linking worldwide research efforts in neurodegenerative disease research
  • Utilising resources and infrastructure outside of Europe and better connecting global patient public involvement (PPI)
  • Building capacity through strengthening certain neurodegenerative disease research areas and establishing networks across and between disciplines and researchers
  • Developing an evidence-led educational approach to embed a research culture across the full spectrum of health, social and palliative care
  • Strengthening the connection to policy makers
  • Ensuring effective communication of the research agenda and engaging with a wide range of sectors and stakeholders

 

JPND receives support from the European Commission.

 

To download a full copy of the Research and Innovation Strategy, click here.

To download an Executive Summary of the Research and Innovation Strategy, click here.

For more information about the 2019 Research and Innovation Strategy, click here.

For the full interview with JPND’s Scientific Advisory Board Chair Thomas Gasser about the Research and Innovation Strategy, click here.

 

[1] Joint Programming is a collaborative approach supported by the European Commission in which countries define a common vision and a strategic research agenda, in order to address major societal challenges which are beyond the scale of any national research programme. The Joint Programme on Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND) was established as the pilot for this new type of coordinated approach to research.
[2] Maresova  et al.,Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Diseases: Expected Economic Impact on Europe-A Call for a Uniform European Strategy, 2016, Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 54(3):1123-1133.

 

 

Freezing of gait (FoG) is a disabling symptom of Parkinson’s Disease, characterised by patients becoming stuck while walking and unable to move forward. It is well-known to lead to falls and lower quality of life, making it an important target for treatment.

Research has linked FoG to aspects of attention and cognitive control. Patients with Parkinson’s Disease who self-reported FoG and who were free from dementia were randomly allocated to receive either a cognitive training intervention or an active control.

65 patients were randomised into the study. 20 patients were randomly assigned to the cognitive training intervention and 18 were randomised to the active control group. Both groups were clinician-led and conducted twice-weekly for seven weeks. The primary outcome was the percentage of time spent frozen during a ‘Timed Up and Go’ task, assessed while patients were both on and off
dopaminergic medications.

A large and statistically significant reduction in FoG severity was shown in patients in the cognitive training group on dopaminergic medication, compared to participants in the active control group on dopaminergic medication. Patients who received cognitive training also showed improved cognitive processing speed and reduced daytime sleepiness compared to those in the active control while accounting for the effect of dopaminergic medication. There was no difference between groups when they were tested without their regular dopaminergic medication. More studies using larger samples are needed to investigate this initial finding that cognitive training can reduce the severity of freezing of gait in Parkinson’s diseases patients.

Paper: “Cognitive training for freezing of gait in Parkinson's Disease: a randomised controlled trial”

Reprinted by materials provided by The University of Sydney