Launch of IMPRiND Consortium to investigate how aggregated proteins contribute to progression of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson's Disease

11 May 2017
​On 1st March 2017 the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) launched IMPRiND, an innovative research project that is devoted to investigate whether mechanisms of propagation of aggregated proteins between cells could enable novel therapeutic approaches in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases are age-related neurodegenerative disorders without cure. They are characterized by the progressive loss of brain cells often along interconnected networks. Recent evidence suggests that this progressive march of pathological lesions may be due to the release and uptake of specific aggregated proteins which act as templates for further aggregation once inside cells. However, a complete understanding of such events and the underpinning cellular mechanisms is still lacking. IMPRiND aims to fill this knowledge gap and develop tools and assays for targeting these pathways to pave the way for novel therapeutics that could delay the progression of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

In Alzheimer’s disease, affected patients suffer from a progressive loss of memory whereas in Parkinson’s disease the most prominent symptoms relate to slowness of movement as well as memory decline in a proportion of them. Today, over 45 million people worldwide live with dementia and up to 10million with Parkinson’s disease. It is estimated that the number of patients with neurodegenerative brain diseases will increase to 131.5 million by 2050 (World Alzheimer Report 2015). The burden on caregivers who are often family members is huge. With an estimated 160 billion Euros of costs of care annually in Europe alone, this translates into a high socio-economic burden.

Dr. George Tofaris at the University of Oxford and IMPRiND project coordinator, commented: “We are seeking to understand how aggregated proteins are handled once inside brain cells and how they are passaged from cell to cell. To this end, we will work collaboratively to develop standardized tools and assays to establish disease-relevant mechanisms that could enable future therapies against disease progression in this area of unmet need”.

Dr. Kenneth Thirstrup, project leader at Lundbeck A/S, stated: “By bringing together leading industrial and academic experts, this project is in an excellent position to create the knowledge and tools necessary for the development of the next innovative therapeutic interventions much needed to treat the patients”.
IMPRiND has a total budget of 11.4 million Euros. It is supported by the IMI with 4.7 million Euros, by industrial partners with 6.4 million Euros and 0.3 million Euros from the Swiss Federation. The project runs over four years and will end on 31st February 2021.

The parties involved
The IMPRiND consortium brings together pharmaceutical companies and public research organisations from across Europe.

Pharmaceutical partners are: H. Lundbeck A/S (Denmark); Janssen Pharmaceutica NV (Belgium); Novartis (Switzerland), Servier (France); Eli Lilly and Company (UK); AbbVie (Germany).
The academic institutions from across Europe include: University of Oxford (UK), University of Cambridge (UK), MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (UK), University of Dundee (UK), German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, University Medical Center Göttingen (Germany), VIB-KU Leuven Center for Brain & Disease Research (Belgium), University of Bordeaux (France), Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (France), Aarhus Universitet (Denmark), Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens (Greece) and the management company SCIPROM (Switzerland).

IMPRiND further embraces two non-European institutions: Harvard Medical School and Hamad Bin Khalifa University are linked to the consortium.

Visit the IMPRiND website at www.imprind.org

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The IMPRiND consortium at the Kick-Off meeting at Oxford