The Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB) of the University of Luxembourg is coordinating an EU project for research into new active compounds against Parkinson’s disease (PD). SysMedPD (Systems Medicine of Mitochondrial Parkinson’s Disease) is the name of the project that just started with the involvement of five universities and three companies from Luxembourg, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and UK. The European Union is funding the researchers of this consortium with a total of 5.9 million euros.
With this funding, they will be developing novel techniques by which to identify and research into active compounds against PD. They will furthermore be advancing drug candidates towards their medical application.
“Universities and biopharmaceutical companies complement each other’s expertise ideally in SysMedPD,” says Prof. Rudi Balling, LCSB director and coordinator of SysMedPD. “This creates optimal conditions in which to progress a good deal further in developing diagnoses and therapies for Parkinson’s disease.”
Parkinson’s disease is a gradually progressive disease of human nerve tissue, resulting among other things in muscle tremors and muscle rigidity. The mitochondria of nerve cells are often causally involved in the onset – mitochondria being the power plants of cells, in which biochemical reactions provide energy for cellular metabolic processes.
“We estimate that in about ten to twenty percent of all Parkinson’s patients, their mitochondria do not function properly,” says senior LCSB scientist Dr Ronan Fleming, who is significantly involved in the conception and coordination of SysMedPD. “In order to better diagnose, heal or at least effectively curb the progression of Parkinson’s disease, we must understand this dysfunction of mitochondria in detail.”
The researchers within SysMedPD are first concentrating on such patterns of PD in which the mitochondria are damaged by mutations in individual genes. “Later, the results can then be carried over to patient groups in which multiple genes and environmental factors are involved in the onset of PD,” adds Dr Fleming.
The SysMedPD consortium will tackle this task with different approaches: “At the LCSB, we place emphasis on developing new, computational models by which we can better depict the processes going on inside mitochondria,” Ronan Fleming says. Prof. Jens Schwamborn, head of the LCSB group Development and Cell Biology, describes a complementary approach: “We must verify any computational predictions using experiments. Therefore, in the scope of this EU project, we will also employ advanced cellular models, where skin samples obtained from Parkinson’s disease patients are reprogrammed into living human nerve cells.”
To ensure the research results obtained within SysMedPD are translated into application as quickly as possible, the consortium also has biopharmaceutical companies on board. Their areas of involvement are test development for new active compounds and identification of active compounds.
“The project is organised such that the insights that we and the other academic partners gain will complement those of the companies involved very well,” says Prof. Rudi Balling. “With this close connection between public and private research, we can ensure the EU funding, firstly, is employed optimally in the interest of the PD patients and, secondly, will generate economic stimuli. These are important objectives of the EU that we will fulfil here.”
The SysMedPD partners:
- Germany: University of Lübeck (Prof. Christine Klein), EURICE – European Research and Project Office GmbH (Corinna Hahn)
- Ireland: Maynooth University (Dr Niall Finnerty)
- Luxembourg: University of Luxembourg (Prof. Rudi Balling, Dr Ronan Fleming, Prof. Jens Schwamborn)
- Netherlands: Leiden University (Prof. Thomas Hankemeier), Khondrion BV (Prof. Jan Smeitink), Mimetas BV (Dr Paul Vulto)
- Great Britain: University College London (Prof. Anthony Schapira)
http://www.uni.lu/lcsb - Homepage of the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine
Britta Schlüter | Universität Luxemburg - Université du Luxembourg
Unique brain 'fingerprint' can predict drug effectiveness
11.07.2018 | McGill University
Direct conversion of non-neuronal cells into nerve cells
03.07.2018 | Universitätsmedizin der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.
Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
17.07.2018 | Information Technology
17.07.2018 | Materials Sciences
17.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering