Five new innovative pathfinder projects are being funded under the JPND-aligned CoEN initiative

The Centres of Excellence in neurodegenerative disease (CoEN) initiative, launched in 2010, funds collaborative research in the field of neurodegenerative disease, spanning disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Motor Neurone Disease.

Under the second CoEN funding call, €3.0m has been awarded for5 “Pathfinder” projects, constituting innovative and creative proof-of-principle studies which, if successful, will provide a step change in neurodegeneration research.

The awarded projects take a ‘high risk, high pay-off’ approach to identify and validate new potential drugs and develop innovative therapeutic approaches for Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias. These projects bring together a wealth of resources and expertise from a number of research centres in different countries to tackle scientific questions that are vital to advancement within the field.

To ensure momentum, successful “pathfinders” will have the potential, in subsequent phases of the initiative, to win substantial follow-on funding that will help take the proof of principle studies to the next stage where they can have wider scientific and clinical impact.  

The funded projects are:

1. Targeting glucocerebrosidase for disease-modifying treatments in Parkinson’s disease
Anthony H.V. Schapira (UK), David Park (Canada), Donato Di Monte (Germany) and Fabio Blandini (Italy)

2. WNT signaling: biomarker and target evaluation in Alzheimer’s disease
Antonio Cuadrado (Spain), James Woodgett (Canada) and Simon Lovestone (UK)

3. Mechanisms of amyloid-beta clearance in models of vascular cognitive impairment and mixed dementia
Gabor Petzold (Germany) and Danica Stanimirovic (Canada)

4. In vivo neuronal cell reprogramming for a new regenerative approach in Parkinson’s disease
Vania Broccoli (Italy), Alexander Dityatev (Germany) and Josè Luis Lanciego (Spain)

5. microRNA as novel therapeutic targets and disease biomarkers in Alzheimer’s Disease, Frontotemporal dementia and Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (NEURO-MIR)
Jochen Prehn (Ireland), Andre Fischer (Germany), Pierre Lau (Flanders), Jose Lucas (Spain)

CoEN is an international initiative involving research funders in the UK (Medical Research Council), Canada (Canadian Institutes of Health Research), Germany (DZNE), Belgium (Flanders, VIB), Ireland (Science Foundation Ireland and Health Research Board), Italy (Ministry of Health), Slovakia (Slovak Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport), and Spain (ISCIII). The aim of the initiative is to encourage collaborative research between recognised national centres of excellence in neurodegeneration research. COEN is aligned with JPND, although it operates as an independent entity.

For further information please visit the links below:  



CoEN Website:
Information about the CoEN funding partners:
JPND Website page on CoEN:

July 23, 2013