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Additional €23m investment to analyse common pathways and develop new ideas on preventive strategies for neurodegenerative diseases

The EU Joint Programme - Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND) is launching 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 (16) 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 (16) Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Turkey Note 1: 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. More information on the participating countries in both calls, in addition to specific grant practicalities is available at http://www.neurodegenerationresearch.eu/initiatives/annual-calls-for-proposals/open-calls Note 2: For these calls, JPND is piloting an online partnering tool as an optional support for researchers interested in responding to the calls. The tool allows researchers to present their research group and expertise in a closed forum, tailored for JPND, thus making it easier for research partners to locate each other and collaborate on a proposal idea. 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 tool is available on the JPND website http://www.neurodegenerationresearch.eu

Countries

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czechia, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Spain, Finland, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Latvia, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, United Kingdom