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MEMO/09/347

Brussels, 22 July 2009

Examples of EU-funded research on neurodegenerative diseases

This background note provides some examples of research on neurodegenerative diseases supported through the EU's Research Framework Programme.

1) Research on Alzheimer's disease

Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia in the EU (between 50 and 70% of all dementia). Dementia is a decline in mental ability that usually progresses slowly, in which memory, thinking, and judgement are impaired and personality may deteriorate. It usually develops slowly, and affects mainly people aged over 60. It is one of the most important causes of disability in the elderly.

PROMEMORIA

The PROMEMORIA project investigates the function of small molecules that participate in the process of memory formation by helping neurons interact with each other. The ultimate goal is to develop compounds with a beneficial effect on diseases involving cognitive impairment, including Alzheimer's.

Coordinator

Prof. Elisabeth Bock

University of Copenhagen

Institute of Molecular Pathology

Copenhagen, Denmark

E-mail: bock@plab.ku.dk

EC contribution: €9 700 000

Starting date: 01/04/2005

Duration: 48 months

Project web-site: http://plab.ku.dk/promemoria/

Partners:

Participant name

Country

University of Copenhagen

Denmark

The Provost, Fellows and Scholars of the College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Queen Elisabeth near Dublin

Ireland

Institute of Neurology – University College London

United Kingdom

Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique

France

Naturwissenschaftliches und Medizinisches Institut an der Universität Tübingen

Germany

University of Geneva, Medical Faculty

Switzerland

The OPEN UNIVERSITY

UK

Instituto Cajal, Consejo, Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas

Spain

Medizinische Hochschule Hannover

Germany

International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology

Poland

Lund University

Sweden

Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne

Switzerland

University of Haifa

Israel

ENKAM Pharmaceuticals A/S

Denmark

NeuroPharma S.A.U.

Spain

Schafer-N

Denmark

University of Tartu

Estonia

ADIT

The ADIT project wants to identify new molecules capable of reducing the mortality of neurons (the neuroprotectants) in Alzheimer's disease. The ultimate goal is to put the identified molecules in an efficient drug discovery pipeline and bring two drug candidates to the clinic.

Coordinator :

Dr. Georg C. Terstappen

Siena Biotech S.p.A.

Discovery Research Division

Siena, Italy

E-mail: gterstappen@sienabiotech.com

EC contribution: € 7 485 490

Starting date: 01/06/2005

Duration: 60 months

Project web-site: http://www.aditproject.org/

Partners:

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED
EDAR

The objective of the EDAR study is to develop ultra-sensitive tests to measure beta amyloid oligomers – the molecules believed to be responsible for Alzheimer's disease – in Alzheimer's patients . The ultimate goal is to obtain a test that not only provides an early diagnosis of Alzheimer's, but can also assess if a patient is responding properly to a treatment or not.

Coordinator

Dr Pieter Jelle Visser

Vrije Universiteit Medisch Centrum

Alzheimer Centre Department of Neurology

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

E-mail: pj.visser@vumc.nl

EC contributi on: € 621 002

Starting date: 01/01/2007

Duration: 36 months

Project web-site: http://www.edarstudy.eu/

Partners:

Participant name

Country

Vereniging voor Christelijk Hoger Onderwijs Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek en P atientenzorg

The Netherlands

Chimera Biotech GmbH

Germany

Hycult biotechnology b.v

The Netherlands

Academisch Medisch Centrum bij de Universiteit van Amsterdam

The Netherlands

Karolinska Institutet

Sweden

Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

Greece

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

Belgium

Region Hovedstaden

Denmark

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich

Germany

University of Maastricht

The Netherlands

Abbott GmbH& Co.KG

Germany

2) Research on Parkinson's disease

Parkinson's disease is characterized by problems with body movements (tremor at rest, slowing of voluntary movements, muscle weakness etc). It is the second most prevalent of all neurodegenerative diseases after Alzheimer's.

NEuroStemCell

The NEuroStemCell consortium aims at paving the way for successful clinical trials of stem cell therapy for Parkinson's and Huntington's disease. Stem cells have the capacity, when cultured properly, to acquire the same properties as other cell types, including neurones. The goal of the project is to compare different stem cell sources and see which one is the most suitable to replace the neurones that are lost in these two diseases.

Coordinator

Prof. Elena Cattaneo

University of Milano

Department of Pharmacological Sciences and Centre for Stem
Cell Research

Milan, Italy

E-mail: elena.cattaneo@unimi.it

EC contribution: € 11 900 000

Starting date: 01/12/2008

Duration: 48 months

Project web-site: http://www.neurostemcell.org/

Partners:

Participant name

Country

UNIVERSITA DEGLI STUDI DI MILANO

Italy

LUNDS UNIVERSITET

Sweden

UNIVERSITAETSKLINIKUM BONN

Germany

KAROLINSKA INSTITUTET

Sweden

CARDIFF UNIVERSITY

United Kingdom

COMMISSARIAT ENERGIE ATOMIQUE CEA

France

UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE

United Kingdom

INSERM

France

IMPERIAL COLLEGE

United Kingdom

BIOREP SRL

Italy

NsGene A/S

Denmark

Stem Cell Sciences PLC

United Kingdom

INDABIP

The INDABIP project wants to identify small molecules (biomarkers) that would permit the early diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease and that could therefore be used to develop better diagnostic tests. The second aim of the INDABIP project is to identify molecules playing a key role in the disease and to evaluate their potential as drug targets.

Coordinator

Tamara Maes

C.S.O. Oryzon genomics

Barcelona, Spain

E-mail: tmaes@oryzon.com

EC contribution: € 1 600 000

Starting date: 01/12/2006

Duration: 36 months

Project web-site: http://www.indabip.eu/

Partners:

Participant name

Country

ORYZON GENOMICS

Spain

Institut d'Investigació Biomèdica de Bellvitge

Spain

GENFIT SA

France

Ludwig-Maximillians-University Munich

Germany

University of Kuopio

Finland

Université de Lille 2

France

3) Research on rare neurodegenerative diseases

Rare neurodegenerative diseases are diseases whose prevalence is less than 1 in 2000. They include amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and other motor neuron diseases, Huntington's disease and other degenerative diseases with chorea (abnormal involuntary movement disorder), ataxias (lack of coordination of muscles movements), prion diseases (for example Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease) , iron and copper disorders and mitochondrial diseases.

EUROSCA

The EUROSCA network aims at developing a treatment for patients suffering from spinocerebellar ataxias (SCA). The project will develop international standards for the clinical evaluation of the disease in the form of a Core Assessment Programme for Interventional Therapies of SCA (CAPIT-SCA). It will also establish the European SCA Registry (EUROSCA-R), the world’s largest collection of information on SCA patients. This it will ensure standardised data acquisition and facilitate continuous enrolment of SCA patients throughout Europe.

Coordinator

Prof. Olaf Riess

Eberhard Karls-Universitaet Tuebingen

Department of Medical Genetics

Tuebingen, Germany

E-mail: olaf.riess@med.uni-tuebingen.de

EC contribution: €9 450 000

Starting date: 01/01/2004

Duration: 60 months

Project web-site: http://www.eurosca.org/

Project video: http://www.youris.com/Health/Genetics/Genes_out_of_Balance.kl

Partners:

Participant name

Country

Olaf Riess, UKT Tübingen

Germany

Nicholas William Wood, IoN London

United Kingdom

Thomas Klockgether, Neurology Bonn

Germany

Alexis Brice, INSERM Paris

France

Bernard Sablonniere, INSERM Lille

France

Stefano DiDonato, INMB Milan

Italy

David Rubinsztein, CMRC Cambridge

United Kingdom

Massimo Pandolfo, ULB Brussels

Belgium

Bart van de Warrenburg, Nijmegen

The Netherlands

Jacek Zaremba, DG-IPN Warsaw

Poland

Bela Melegh, Uiversity of Pecs

Hungary

José Berciano, UHMV Santander

Spain

Sandra Szymanski, Neurology Bochum

Germany

Georg Auburger, Neurogenetics Frankfurt

Germany

Christine Zühlke, Human Genetics Lübeck

Germany

Hervé Tricoire, DCF CNRS Paris

France

Erich E. Wanker, MDC Berlin

Germany

Yvon Trottier IGBMC Illkirch

France

Neil Quentin McDonald BC London

United Kingdom

Annalisa Pastore NIMR London

United Kingdom

Jörg B. Schulz HM Göttingen

Germany

Antoni Matilla IGTP Badalona

Spain

TAMAHUD

This project aims at identifying novel molecules contributing to the development of Huntington’s disease in order to develop efficient drugs against the disease and novel biomarkers for early diagnosis. Biomarkers are molecules that show the presence of the disease.

Coordinator

Dr Andrea Caricasole

Siena Biotech SpA

Siena, Italy

E-mail: acaricasole@sienabiotech.com

EC contribution: € 3 000 000

Starting date: 01/01/2007

Duration: 42 months

Project web-site: http://www.tamahud.eu/home.jsp

Partners:

Participant name

Country

Sienabiotech SpA

Italy

University of Cambridge

United Kingdom

TCP Innovations

United Kingdom

Alma Bioinformatics S.L

Spain

EMBL Heidelberg

Germany

Total Scientific

United Kingdom

4) Networking activities

The European Community also funds transnational networks to overcome fragmentation of research in a specific area.

NeuroNE

The NeuroNE consortium studies the basic mechanisms of disease in order to develop novel therapeutic approaches to neurodegenerative diseases and spinal cord injury. NeuroNE brings together investigators from different backgrounds (basic scientists, active clinicians and biomedical companies) to work at multiple levels: basic research, preclinical research, and clinical studies. The network mostly focuses on Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Coordinator

Prof. James Fawcett

University of Cambridge

Cambridge Centre for Brain Repair

Cambridge, United Kingdom

E-mail: jf108@cam.ac.uk

EC contribution: €8 300 000

Starting date: 01/01/2005

Duration: 54 months Project web-site: http://neurone.nuxit.net/

Partners:

Participant name

Country

Cambridge University

United Kingdom

Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausann e

Switzerland

Universität Heildelberg

Germany

Universität Gottingen

Germany

Lund University

Sweden

Friedrich Miescher Institut

Switzerland

Università di Milano

Italy

Technion-Israel Institute of Technology

Israel

Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique

France

Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale

France

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet Muenchen

Germany

Karolinska Institute

Sweden

Université de Genève

Switzerland

Max-Planck Institute

Germany

Universitätsklinikum Ulm

Germany

Kings College London

United Kingdom

Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology VZW

Belgium

Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas

Spain

University of Zurich

Switzerland

University of Turin

Italy

INSERM Transfert

France

Trophos

France

Xantos GmbH

Germany

Genetrix SL

Spain

Pharmaxon

France

Miltenyi Biotec

Germany

Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique

France

Istituto Veneto di Medicina Molecolare

Italy

D-PHARM Ltd

Israel

The Babraham Institute

United Kingdom

Medical Research Centre

United Kingdom

BrainNet Europe II

BrainNet Europe is a "Network of Excellence" that collects human post-mortem brain tissue (i.e brain banking). Collecting such tissue is essential as this tissue can then used by researchers to carry out research on diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Expected results include the development of guidelines describing the best practice for brain banking, providing training in brain banking, and reaching out to neuroscience centres worldwide to promote future expertise in biobanking and central nervous system research.

Coordinator:

Prof. Hans Kretzschmar

Ludwig Maximilians Universitaet Muenchen

Institute of Neuropathology and Prion Research

Munich, Germany

E-mail: Hans-Kretzschmar@med.uni-muenchen.de

EC contribution: €7 740 000

Starting date: 01/07/2004

Duration: 66 months

Project web-site: www.brainnet-europe.org

Partners:

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED


Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED


5) Public and private Partnerships

The European Commission also encourages public and private partnerships in research. Launched in 2007, the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) is an example of such partnerships: it involves both the European Community and the pharmaceutical industry (EFPIA - European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations)

One of the projects selected within IMI's first call for proposals is PharmaCOG which aims at predicting cognitive properties of new drug candidates for neurodegenerative diseases in early clinical development.

The PharmaCOG project, with a co-founding of € 9M by the European Community and € 13M by the EFPIA partners, is one of the most ambitious projects tackling Alzheimer's disease ever funded at European level.

PharmaCOG offers a complete innovative approach to Alzheimer's treatment drug discovery. Indeed, the major obstacle to new drugs development is the promising pharmaceutical molecules failure rate through the medicines' development process, with regard to criteria such as toxicity and efficiency. PharmaCOG will define more precisely the potential of a drug candidate, reduce its development time and thus accelerate the marketing of promising new drugs in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Through the joint effort of 30 European partners (within 9 European countries) from 12 fundamental and clinical public research institutions, 5 innovative SMEs, 12 Big Pharma companies and 1 patient’s association, PharmaCOG will validate the tools needed to streamline and accelerate the discovery of drugs effective in treating Alzheimer's disease.

Coordinator:

Glaxosmithkline Research and Development Ltd

Managing entity: Université de la Méditerranée – Aix-Marseille II

EC contribution: €9 000 000

EFPIA "in kind" contribution: € 13 000 000

Duration: 60 months

See also IP/09/1171 , MEMO/09/345 and MEMO/09/346


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