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Karolinska to Lead $13.5M Neurodegenerative Biomarker Consortium

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The Karolinska Institute will lead a European consortium to establish and fund international research projects to improve and harmonize methods for using molecular biomarkers for neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

Funded with more than SEK 90 million ($13.5 million) from the research councils from 22 participating countries, the BIOMARKAPD program aims to establish multinational, collaborative research projects that will add value to existing research on neurodegenerative disorders.

The project partners will focus primarily on known molecular biomarkers found in the spinal fluid of patients with Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease, but it will support projects to identify new markers and to use imaging markers as well. One core objective will be to standardize and harmonize the use of these markers so that the same reference values can be used everywhere for diagnostic purposes, such as the concentrations of different biomarkers that are required to make a diagnosis.

Although the effort is focused on biomarkers for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, researchers also may pursue studies of markers for prion disease; motor neuron diseases; Huntington's disease; spinocerebellar ataxia; and spinal muscular atrophy.

The funded projects will develop novel approaches to harmonizing the documentation of patient samples, collection and storage, and analytical methods. Such efforts may include, but are not limited to studies to design or improve the biomarker assay system to make it robust, reliable, quantitative, and translatable to a wide range of labs and clinical centers; work to establish biomaterial sampling and biomarker monitoring strategies that are widely acceptable to patients and clinical staff, or which are more cost-effective than current methods; and projects to standardize analytical methods for established and candidate biomarkers.

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