The EU Joint Programme for Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND) has announced that its 2019 Call will focus on the area of Precision Medicine, which relates to the targeting of specific elements responsible for pathology in a given individual at a particular point in time. It is an emerging approach for disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment that takes into account individual variability in genes, biological/molecular characteristics together with environmental and lifestyle factors.
More than €30 million has been earmarked by JPND member countries and the European Commission for this action.
Neurodegenerative diseases are characterised by a large variability in their origins, mechanisms and clinical expression. When searching for a medical solution, this large variability constitutes a major hurdle if not controlled. Indeed a treatment addressing one disease pathway may not be useful for all patients experiencing the relevant symptoms. Thus, one of the greatest challenges for treating neurodegenerative diseases is the deciphering of this variability.
The upcoming call for multidisciplinary research proposals will, therefore, focus on Precision Medicine in the following research areas:
- Diagnosis (eg biomarkers, imaging data, omics approaches, big data analyses)
- Prevention (eg biomarkers for studying novel treatments and interventions, co-morbidities, digital technologies, stratification within cohort studies and clinical trials)
- Care (eg improvement of social and health care systems, molecular profiling, imaging, lifestyle data)
The following neurodegenerative diseases are included in the call:
- Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias
- Parkinson’s disease and PD‐related disorders
- Prion diseases
- Motor neuron diseases
- Huntington’s disease
- Spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA)
- Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA)
The Call will be launched early in January 2019. The deadline for submission of pre-proposals is expected to be in March 2019.
JPND consists of 30 member countries, including three Third Country members. It has not yet announced which countries will be participating in the 2019 Call. The member countries are: Albania, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom.