Tag Archives: National Plan

Today the Lancet Neurology Commission released a major report detailing the state of research and patient care for Alzheimer´s disease and other dementias and providing recommendations for the future. The conclusion: A concerted effort and long-term economic commitment are critical to meeting the global challenge of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

The comprehensive report, which was the result of a collaborative effort between more than 30 leading researchers from around the world, will also be presented to the European Parliament Commissioners today in Brussels.

The Lancet Neurology Commission, initiated by Lancet editors, is led by Professor Bengt Winblad of the Center for Alzheimer Research at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. Winblad is also a member of the JPND Scientific Advisory Board and was the coordinator of BIOMARKAPD, a JPND project on Biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Three other members of the JPND Scientific Advisory Board, Prof. Martin Knapp (United Kingdom), Prof. Bruno Dubois (France), and Prof. Philip Scheltens (Netherlands), as well as the Chair of the JPND Management Board, Prof. Philippe Amouyel, participated as experts in this report. The commission was formed with the aim of providing expert recommendations and information to politicians and policymakers about Alzheimer´s disease and related dementias.

The report encompasses the fields of health economics, epidemiology, prevention, genetics, biology, diagnosis, treatment, care and ethics. To reduce the burden of dementia, the commission advocates that public governmental agencies form large multinational partnerships with academic centres and pharmaceutical companies to deploy capital resources and share risk.

“To defeat Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, united actions are needed, not only within research, but also within the political arena on all levels,” said Winblad. “My hope is that our work will stimulate increased national and international collaboration.”

Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia, accounts for approximately 60 percent of cases. The most important risk factor is age, and as life expectancy increases, the number of people with dementia is also expected to rise. In 2015, almost 47 million individuals around the world were estimated to be affected. By 2030, the number is expected to reach 75 million. By 2050, up to 131 million people are expected to be burdened by the disease. So far, no treatment is available to effectively halt or reverse the disease.

Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders are one of the major targets of JPND, which as the largest global research initiative aimed at tackling the challenge of neurodegenerative diseases is cited in the report as an example of the sort of action needed to make meaningful progress. “To speed up progress even more, ” the report asserts, “this global collaboration must be extended to even more countries.”

For Winblad, the onus is now on governments to take action — and quickly: “What we need now is for the politicians to realise that this is a growing problem that already costs society tremendous amounts of money,” he said. “We need investments of resources in research in all areas involved in this disease, to find better drugs, but also to improve compassionate care and prevention.”

Using a drug compound created to treat cancer, neurobiologists have disarmed the brain’s response to the distinctive beta-amyloid plaques that are the hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.

The researchers found that flushing away the abundant inflammatory cells produced in reaction to beta-amyloid plaques restored memory function in test mice. Their study showed that these cells, called microglia, contribute to the neuronal and memory deficits seen in this neurodegenerative disease. Results appear online in the journal Brain.

The neurobiologists treated Alzheimer’s disease model mice with a small-molecule inhibitor compound called pexidartinib, or PLX3397, which is currently being used in several phase 2 oncology studies and a phase 3 clinical trial to treat a benign neoplasm of the joints.

The inhibitor works by selectively blocking signaling of microglial surface receptors, known as colony-stimulating factor 1 receptors, which are necessary for microglial survival and proliferation in response to various stimuli, including beta-amyloid. This led to a dramatic reduction of these inflammatory cells, allowing for analysis of their role in Alzheimer’s. The researchers noted a lack of neuron death and improved memory and cognition in the pexidartinib-treated mice, along with renewed growth of dendritic spines that enable brain neurons to communicate.

Although the compound swept away microglia, the beta-amyloid remained, raising new questions about the part these plaques play in Alzheimer’s neurodegenerative process.

In healthy tissue, microglia act as the first and main form of immune defense in the central nervous system. But in a disease state, such as Alzheimer’s, microglia appear to turn against the healthy tissue they were originally assigned to protect, causing inflammation in the brain. The beta-amyloid plaques in brain areas related to Alzheimer’s disease are rich with these rogue microglia.

Source: University of California, Irvine

Marisol Touraine, Minister of Social Affairs, Health and Women’s Rights, Geneviève Fioraso, State Secretary for Higher Education and Research, and Laurence Rossignol, Secretary of State for Families, People elderly and Autonomy, recently launched the French National Plan neurodegenerative diseases 2014-2019.

Announced by the President of the Republic, this plan from a wide consultation with stakeholders, has three priorities:

  • Improving the diagnosis and management of patients
  • Ensuring the quality of life of patients and their caregivers
  • Develop and coordinate research

The French Government is committed to a dynamic of progress in research, care and support. The plan takes into account the specificities of each disease and provides concrete solutions to the needs of patients and their caregivers.

The first 25 research projects of the Dutch “Delta Plan Dementia” have been announced and will start before the end of the year. The studies vary in focus, from new treatments and prevention to better patient care and support. Results are expected in the coming years.

The 25 studies have received over EUR 21 Million in funding. The Dutch Government was the major contributor. Alzheimer Nederland was the major private investor with a contribution of over EUR 1 Million. Gea Broekema-Prochazka, director of Alzheimer Netherlands said “We expect breakthroughs that are important for the patients that are faced with dementia today and for the patients of the future.”

Source:  Alzheimer Europe

The second in a series of four Global Dementia Legacy events took place on 11 and 12 September in the Canadian capital, Ottawa. The 200 delegates included experts from the research and industry sectors, health charities, patients, caregivers and government leaders.

The event entitled “Harnessing the power of discoveries: Maximizing academia-industry synergies” aimed to:

  • Explore collaborative opportunities for research into novel diagnostic, pre-emptive and therapeutic approaches to dementia.
  • Provide a better understanding of the impact of the paradigm shift in pharmaceutical research.
  • Foster a collective approach to problem-solving, using expert panel discussions to identify practical and creative solutions.

Canadian Health Minister, Rona Ambrose noted the significant impact of dementia on society and made a number of announcements regarding the Canadian Government’s approach, including the release of the “National Dementia Research and Prevention Plan”.

The next legacy event will be in Japan from 5 to 7 November and the final event in the series will take place in the US on 9 and 10 February 2015.


The mis-folded and infectious prion protein that is a marker for variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease – linked to the consumption of infected cattle meat – has been detected in the urine of patients with the disease by researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) Medical School.

The results of the international study, are published in the Aug. 7 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

The international team of researchers analyzed urine samples from 68 patients with sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, 14 patients with variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, four patients with genetic prion diseases, 50 patients with other neurodegenerative diseases, 50 patients with nondegenerative neurologic diseases and 52 healthy persons.

The team used a protein misfolding cyclic amplification assay which mimics the prion replication process in vitro that occurs in prion disease. The misfolded prion proteins were detected in the urine of 13 of 14 patients with variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.