ADAPTED - Alzheimer's disease apolipoprotein pathology for treatment elucidation and development
The ADAPTED project aimed to support the development of new medicines by investigating an area of Alzheimer’s disease research that has previously received little attention – the APOE gene. The APOE gene is a well-known risk factor for developing the disease, but precisely how this gene contributes to the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease isn’t clear yet. People who carry the APOE4 version of the gene have a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. They also tend to develop the disease earlier in life. However, the reasons for this are not well understood. By bringing together leading experts in a range of state-of-the-art technologies, ADAPTED hoped to gain better insights into the causes of Alzheimer’s disease, something that would in turn help to develop better treatments for patients.
Margot Bakker (AbbVie pharmaceuticals) is ADAPTED representative on Neuronet's Scientific Coordination Board.
Twitter handle: @adapted_project
AETIONOMY - Organising mechanistic knowledge about neurodegenerative diseases for the improvement of drug development and therapy
Today, diseases are defined largely on the basis of symptoms, yet while two patients may share the same diagnosis, the underlying causes of their symptoms may be very different. This means that a treatment that works in one patient may prove ineffective in another. There is now broad recognition that a new approach to disease classification is needed, and that is where the AETIONOMY project came in. AETIONOMY aimed to pave the way towards a new approach to the classification of neurodegenerative diseases, particularly Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, thereby improving drug development and increasing patients’ chances of receiving a treatment that works for them.
Two key project outputs are:
- The AETIONOMY Knowledge Base, a unification point of the knowledge and data management on neurodegeneration with a main focus on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
- NeuroMMSig, a mechanistic interpretation of multiscale, multimodal clinical data, representing essential pathophysiology mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases. Researchers can explore the biology that underpins disease development through this user interface.
Martin Hofmann-Apitius (Fraunhofer SCAI) is AETIONOMY representative on Neuronet's Scientific Coordination Board.
Read the final AETIONOMY newsletter here.
EMIF - European Medical Information Framework
The EMIF project aimed to develop a common information framework of patient-level data that links up and facilitates access to diverse medical and research data sources, opening up new avenues of research for scientists. The project focussed initially on questions relating to obesity and Alzheimer’s disease to provide a focus and guidance for the development of the framework.
Click here to download the EMIF Brochure providing an overview of the main achievements to date.
During its project lifetime, EMIF has developed and made the EMIF Data Catalogue publicly available to the research community. The EMIF Data Catalogue is a text-book example of EMIF’s mission to improve identification, access and assessment, and (re)use of health data within the European Union. You can access it from here.
Pieter-Jelle Visser (Amsterdam UMC) is EMIF representative on Neuronet's Scientific Coordination Board.
Twitter handle: @IMI_EMIF
Read the final EMIF newsletter here.
EQIPD - European Quality In Preclinical Data
Poor quality data is an issue in many research fields – all too often, results carried out in one organisation cannot be replicated elsewhere, and it is not always clear why. In medical research, consequences include poor decision-making resulting in higher failure rates and longer drug development times.
There is therefore an urgent need for simple, sustainable solutions to improve data quality, and that’s where the EQIPD project comes in. Their goal was to deliver simple recommendations to facilitate data quality without impacting innovation.
Although, the IMI-funding period of the project has ended the project keeps on to deliver on its ambition. The Guarantors of EQIPD (GoEQIPD) is a not-for-profit society established to oversee the implementation of the EQIPD Quality System (QS). They are seeking proposals from organisations who wish to work with us in providing mentoring and accreditation to laboratories wishing to meet EQIPD QS standards.
Malcolm Macleod (University of Edinburgh) is EQIPD representative on Neuronet's Scientific Coordination Board.
Twitter handle: @GoEQIPD
IMPRiND - Inhibiting misfolded protein propagation in neurodegenerative diseases
Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases are characterised by the progressive loss of brain cells. Research suggests that this loss may be due to brain cells that release but also uptake misfolded proteins that clump together. This in turn might lead to an ongoing spreading of the death of brain cells.
If these processes could be blocked, disease progression could be halted. However, the forces driving these processes are currently poorly understood. The IMPRiND project worked to shed further light into this area and aimed to understand how these proteins are handled once inside brain cells and how they are moved from cell to cell.
To do this, the project team worked together to develop standardised tools and tests to establish disease-relevant mechanisms that could be targeted by drugs in the future.
A collection of all IMPRiND research highlights is now available for download. This document is a journey through the research results of the project over the last five years.
George Tofaris (University of Oxford) is IMPRiND representative on Neuronet's Scientific Coordination Board.
Have a look at the IMPRiND outcomes page to learn more about its findings and activities: https://www.imprind.org/outcomes/
Twitter handle: @imprind
MOPEAD - Models of patient engagement for Alzheimer’s disease
Since researchers are increasingly focusing their efforts on better understanding the early onset of dementia and finding ways to prevent its onset in the first place, they need to work with people who are still in the very earliest stages of the disease. The MOPEAD project aimed to identify and test different models for engaging with this important group and to determine which models work best in different situations. The project also aimed to better understand the earliest stages of dementia and works to facilitate recruitment for clinical trials. Findings from the research project are currently under submission in scientific journals and will be made available on the project website.
The project developed a series of infographics about Alzheimer's disease and dementia in different languages. They can be accessed here.
Mercè Boada (Fundació ACE) is MOPEAD representative on Neuronet's Scientific Coordination Board.
Twitter handle: @MopeadEU
Read the final MOPEAD newsletter here.
PD-MIND – Parkinson disease with mild cognition impairment treated with nicotinic agonist drug
Currently there is an unmet clinical need to treat Parkinson Disease with Mild Cognitive Impairment (PD-MCI). In fact, nicotinic agonists are specifically relevant for this condition.
Hence, the major aim of the project PD-MIND (Parkinson Disease with Mild cognition Impairment treated with Nicotinic agonist Drug) was to identify the potential of the nicotinic α7 agonist AZD0328 in a randomized, placebo-controlled, parallel group, international multicentre study on cognitive function in people diagnosed with PD-MCI.
Dag Aarsland (King’s College London) is PD-MIND representative on Neuronet’s Scientific Coordination Board.
PHAGO - Inflammation and AD: modulating microglia function - focussing on TREM2 and CD33
Alzheimer’s disease is an age-related chronic neurodegenerative disease with progressive loss of nerve cells and their connectivity in the brain. People affected experience memory loss and progressive dementia. Recent research has shown that two genes involved in the innate immune system, TREM2 and CD33, are associated with Alzheimer’s disease and could therefore be potential targets for drug development.
However, their exact role in the progression of the disease is still poorly understood. The PHAGO project aimed to develop tools and methods to study the function of these genes and to identify druggable points for intervention. The project results therefore paved the way for the development of novel drugs that could tackle Alzheimer’s disease via this route.
Have a look at the PHAGO flyer here to gain a high-level overview of the project.
Andreas Ebneth (Janssen Pharmaceutica NV) is PHAGO representative on Neuronet's Scientific Coordination Board.
Twitter handle: @phago_imi
PRISM - Psychiatric Ratings using Intermediate Stratified Markers: providing quantitative biological measures to facilitate the discovery and development of new treatments for social and cognitive deficits in AD, SZ, and MD
Social withdrawal is a common early symptom of many neurological disorders, including schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, and major depressive disorder. However, the underlying, biological causes of this symptom are still poorly understood and may differ from one disease to another. The PRISM project carried out a range of tests, including blood tests, brain scans, and measures of behaviour, on patients with these diseases in a bid to determine which biological parameters correlate with specific clinical symptoms, like social withdrawal. The hope is that the project’s findings will shed new light on the causes of mental illness and their symptoms and facilitate the development of much-needed new treatments.
Hugh Marston (Boehringer Ingelheim) is PRISM representative on Neuronet's Scientific Coordination Board.
Read the final PRISM newsletter here.
RADAR-CNS - Remote Assessment of Disease and Relapse in Central Nervous System Disorders
The RADAR-CNS project aimed to develop new ways of monitoring major depressive disorder, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis by using wearable devices and smartphone technology. The key goal of the project was to improve patients’ symptoms and quality of life and to change how these and other chronic disorders are treated.
People with epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and depression often experience periods in which their symptoms are manageable, followed by periods of deterioration and acute illness (relapse). Patient surveys have repeatedly highlighted the need to predict when relapses will happen and to improve the treatments available to stop them from occurring.
Continuous remote assessment using smartphones and wearable devices provides a complete picture of a patient’s condition at a level of detail which was previously unachievable. Moreover, it could potentially allow treatment to begin before a patient’s health deteriorates, preventing the patient from relapsing or worsening before they even sought treatment.
The RADAR-CNS infographic can now be viewed online, providing a summary of their work throughout the programme and some of the main results.
Matthew Hotopf (King's College London) is RADAR-CNS representative on Neuronet's Scientific Coordination Board.
Twitter handle: @RADARCNS
Read the final RADAR-CNS newsletter (January 2022) here.
ROADMAP - Real world outcomes across the Alzheimer's disease (AD) spectrum for better care: multi-modal data access platform
Currently, strictly controlled clinical trials are used to assess the safety and benefits of potential AD treatments for patients. However, clinical trials do not provide information on the health benefits for patients in their daily lives, the ‘real world’. The ROADMAP project aimed to deliver a series of methods and tools that allow the scalable, transferable integration of data on patient outcomes in the real world. The tools were developed and tested through pilot exercises. The project conducted patient engagement and addressed ethical, legal and social implications of adopting a real world evidence approach to Alzheimer’s disease.
The project was part of IMI’s Big Data for Better Outcomes programme, which aims to facilitate the use of diverse data sources to deliver results that reflect health outcomes of treatments that are meaningful for patients, clinicians, regulators, researchers, healthcare decision-makers, and others.
ROADMAP's Interactive Data Cube offers an overview of availability of European real-world data on Alzheimer's disease - have a look at the tool via this link: https://datacube.roadmap-alzheimer.org
John Gallacher (University of Oxford) is ROADMAP representative on Neuronet's Scientific Coordination Board.
Twitter handle: @IMI2_ROADMAP
Read the final ROADMAP newsletter here.