The European Platform for Neurodegenerative Diseases (EPND) project recently celebrated its first anniversary, following its launch in November 2021. To mark this milestone, the project brought together representatives from its 29 partner organisations at its first Annual Meeting, which was organised as a hybrid event in Amsterdam (the Netherlands) and online.
Funded for a 5-year period by the Innovative Medicines Initiative, EPND’s mission is to accelerate the discovery of diagnostics and treatments for neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, by removing barriers to data and sample sharing, and by fostering collaboration. In particular, EPND aims to facilitate the discovery, development and validation of biomarkers, biological molecules that are measurable indicators of processes happening inside the body, such as the development of disease. To achieve these aims, EPND is developing a platform that will support the discovery and sharing of clinical data and biosamples from European research cohorts. EPND will also develop tools and guidance to support data and sample sharing and biomarker development, refining the platform through a series of case studies on fluid-based, imaging and other biomarkers.
At its Annual Meeting, which was attended by almost 80 project collaborators, members of the Project Management Team and leaders of the 8 EPND work packages presented updates on project progress, sharing challenges and brainstorming solutions as EPND moves into its second year. Project co-leads Niranjan Bose (Gates Ventures), Tony Brookes (University of Leicester), Phil Scordis (UCB Pharma) and PJ Visser (Maastricht University), provided a high-level overview of EPND achievements in year 1, moderating plenary sessions where leaders of workstreams on technical platform development, data governance, biomarker protocols, cohort interactions, stakeholder involvement and sustainability presented more granular details of progress. Angela Bradshaw, Dianne Gove and Daphne Lamirel represented AE at the meeting, and are supporting stakeholder involvement and communications activities in the project.
EPND highlights for year 1 include the launch of its Cohort Catalogue, which brings together information on over 60 European research cohorts (involving almost 160,000 research participants), development of recommendations for the EPND data governance framework, and the creation of standard operating procedures for several types of biomarkers.
To learn more about the EPND project, visit their website, here: https://epnd.org/