Degenerative disorders of the nervous system including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Huntington's, motor neuron and prion diseases are among the most debilitating illnesses, putting an enormous strain on both social and health care budgets in Europe. As these diseases progress, all but the most primitive functions of the nervous system are lost due to the degeneration and subsequent death of nerve cells. Eventually patients die in a state of incapacitation. Only a small fraction of cases can be accounted for by gene mutations. Altogether, the underlying aetiologies are poorly understood. A hallmark common to these neurodegenerative disorders is the deposition of abnormal protein aggregates. There is currently no treatment available that can halt or prevent, let alone reverse nerve cell degeneration. The APOPIS project is designed to apply the unique information provided by sequencing of the human genome to further the understanding of and to develop treatments for these deva¬ stating diseases. By integrating Europe's leading research centres in clinical research, human genetics, cell biology, genomics, proteomics and bioinformatics, the VERUM Foundation has devised a consortium to identify genes involved, determine their biological functions, establish their role in the patho-physiological processes and identify novel avenues for early diagnosis, treatment and prevention. The chosen approach is based on human population genetics complemented by the identification of modifier genes in model organisms that express both wildtype and mutant variants of known disease-related genes. The consortium meets the prerequisites for such a project: ground breaking research in functional genomics related to human health, creating synergies with and between national research efforts, teaming up with both small biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies for the development of diagnostic tools and new drugs, and providing training and mobility to improve the skills of...
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Funding SchemeIP - Integrated Project