Funding International Cooperations between Centres of Excellence in neurodegenerative disease research

The CoEN initiative invests in innovative new “Pathfinder” projects to tackle key questions in neurodegenerative disease research.

The 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, £2.6m has been awarded for 5 “Pathfinder” projects, constituting innovative and creative proof of principle research and high risk / high pay off studies which if successful will provide a step change in neurodegeneration research.

The awarded projects span approaches to identify and validate new drug targets 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 key 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 to fully realise the proof of principle studies into scientific and clinical impact. 

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), 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.  

Information about the CoEN funding partners: http://coen.org/funding-partners.html   

The funded projects are:   

•    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)       

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

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

•    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)  

•    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)