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Trans-national Alzheimer's help

A major new EU project called ROADMAP intends to help find effective treatment of Alzheimer's disease. Aarhus University is involved in the partnership, which has a budget of EUR 7.8 million.

Better treatment of the dementia disease Alzheimer's. This is the objective of a new European partnership, which will work on an unprecedented scale to collect and analyse research data on a group of patients that is expected to total more than 130 million people worldwide in 2050.

The partnership involves researchers from a total of 22 universities in six European countries, as well as a number of pharmaceutical companies from Europe and USA. The project incorporates data from national registers, biobanks and clinical databases, and the total budget amounts to EUR 7.8 million. Aarhus University contribution involves The Department of Clinical Epidemiology providing data from hospitals, municipalities and other sources. Professor Lars Pedersen, who is the Danish project coordinator together with Professor Henrik Toft Sørensen, believes that the very scope of the new partnership can pave the way for new and more effective forms of treatment:

"The idea is to create a common platform, where researchers can analyse data from different data sources and different patient compositions. Normally, we only have access to Danish data, but the new collaboration makes it possible to compare data across countries and to test hypotheses on larger patient populations. This provides a more complete picture of individual patient needs, which can lead to better treatment," says Professor Lars Pedersen, who has recently returned from a meeting about the project in Barcelona.

Alzheimer's disease is characterised by the ability of the currently approved treatments to temporarily curb or postpone the worsening of symptoms, but also by an inability to alter the course of the disease. Previous attempts to bring new medicines to market for the treatment or prevention of Alzheimer's disease have been disappointing – despite massive commercial, public and academic investments.

Worldwide, 7.7 million new cases of dementia are recorded annually, which corresponds to a new case every four seconds. In 2013, approximately 44.4 million people suffered from dementia – and according to Alzheimer's Disease International, that figure is expected to increase to 135.5 million in 2050. In the light of this there are special reasons to be pleased with the collaboration, says Professor Henrik Toft Sørensen:

”EU countries have some of the most sophisticated healthcare systems in the world, so they are particularly well-qualified to develop and utilise technologies that support the work of finding effective treatment, while at the same time taking into account factors such as correlation, data security and health economics. That is not possible anywhere else in the world," says Henrik Toft Sørensen.  

The project has been christened ROADMAP, which is an abbreviation of the project's full name: ‘The Real world Outcomes across the Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) spectrum for better care: Multi-modal data Access Platform’.

ROADMAP is primarily financed by the EU's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, together with the pharmaceutical industry (via EFPIA) under the auspices of the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI).


Further information

Professor Lars Pedersen
Aarhus University, Department of Clinical Medicine               
Department of Clinical Epidemiology
Direct tel.: (+45) 8716 8149
Email: lap@clin.au.dk

Professor Henrik Toft Sørensen
Aarhus University, Department of Clinical Medicine
Department of Clinical Epidemiology
Direct tel.: (+45) 8716 8215
Email: hts@clin.au.dk