Neurodegenerative diseases are debilitating and largely untreatable conditions that are strongly linked with age. Worldwide, there are estimated to be 47 million people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders, the most common class of neurodegenerative diseases. This figure is expected to double every 20 years as the population ages. The total direct and informal care costs of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and related disorders are in the range of €105-160 billion per year across the European Union and about US$ one trillion worldwide. Existing treatments for neurodegenerative diseases are limited in effect and mainly address the symptoms rather than the cause or the progressive course. With this in mind, JPND has identified a pressing need for investment aimed at enabling research projects on Linking Pre-Diagnosis Disturbances of Physiological Systems to Neurodegenerative Diseases.
The development of efficient treatments for most neurodegenerative disease is hindered by the fact that their detection intervenes at late stages in which the integrity of the nervous tissue is very compromised. Poorly characterised early physiological disturbances are known to appear before unambiguous symptoms of each neurodegenerative disease are detected. These changes may include, among others, disruption of sleep, olfaction, hearing, vision, metabolic factors as well as social engagement. All these signs have the potential to be used as early indicators of later diseases, and in most cases have the advantage that they are measurable in natural everyday life environments. Since some of these changes are very likely early indicators of nervous system dysfunction, the identification of the circuits and molecular pathways being affected might reveal promising targets for early interventions and therapies for neurodegenerative diseases.
This transnational call invites proposals for ambitious, innovative, multinational and multidisciplinary collaborative research projects with a view to promoting research aimed at the detection, measurement and understanding of early disease indicators related to neurodegenerative diseases, with potential for the development of new diagnostics or interventions.
Funding: The total made available for this call is about 19 million euros.