Professor Jochen Prehn, FutureNeuro Principal Investigator is co-ordinating a new research study which aims to deepen the understanding of Parkinson’s so that better treatments can be developed in the future. The project has been awarded €7m by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) with pharmaceutical industry and patient advocacy partners.
The PD-MitoQUANT project aims to increase understanding of how cells in the brain become damaged in Parkinson’s so more effective treatments can be developed for the one million people living with Parkinson’s in Europe today, including 12,000 people in Ireland.
The researchers will focus on parts of the cell, known as mitochondria, that malfunction in people with Parkinson’s. Mitochondria contribute to cell death and neurodegeneration and there is growing evidence of their role in Parkinson’s, but no effective treatments have been developed based on this knowledge.
The EU public-private partnership funding health research and innovation chose the project as it recognises that new, more effective treatments are urgently needed. The most common drug to treat Parkinson’s used in Ireland is more than 50 years old, and no current treatment can stop, slow or reverse the condition.
The PD-MitoQUANT Coordinator is Professor Jochen Prehn, RCSI Chair of Physiology, Director of the RCSI Centre for Systems Medicine and Principal Investigator at FutureNeuro, the SFI Research Centre for Chronic and Rare Neurological Diseases.
Professor Prehn said:
“This project will join forces with top scientists in academia and industry to bring a fresh look on how we identify and test novel drugs for the treatment of this devastating movement disorder.”
The project involves 14 partners from nine countries, including:
- academic experts from: RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland); Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle Epinière; German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE); Neuroscience Institute of the National Research Council; University College London; Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre; the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
- SMEs: GeneXplain GmbH; Mimetas B.V.; Pintail Limited
- pharmaceutical companies from the EFPIA members: Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.; H. Lundbeck A/S and UCB S.A.
- patient advocacy organisation: Parkinson’s UK
With the project kick-off meeting taking place this month, the project will run for three years, receiving €4.5m in funding from the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme and €2.46m in-kind from European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) members and Parkinson’s UK.