Ageing is undisputedly a complex process because it affects the deterioration of most, if not all aspects of life. Neurodegenerative diseases and cognitive decline are emerging as one of the greatest public health challenges of the old age, with nearly 50% of adults over 85 afflicted by Alzheimer’s disease, the most common type of dementia.

As other chronic and neurodegenerative diseases, Alzheimer’s disease develops slowly and gradually, but is distinctive in that it isolates the patients socially as they suffer from memory loss, difficulty with orientation, loss of language and speaking abilities, seriously impaired judgment and depression, amongst numerous other symptoms. It is estimated that by 2040, 14 million Europeans will be affected by Alzheimer’s disease and that their care will cost about €140 billion per year.

Over the last years, Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWAS) have been instrumental to identify genes that mediate genetic risk associated to Late-onset Alzheimer Disease (LOAD), based on the genetic comparison of large cohorts of patients and healthy aged persons. Additionally, recent studies have highlighted the importance of protein-protein interactions, and the analysis of genes displaying an accelerated evolution in humans or non-human primates has opened interesting research paths.

However, despite the huge amount of data collected and the availability of in vitro and in vivo models, drug development has not performed as expected in clinical trials. These difficulties are linked to the syndromic nature of the disease, lack of causative targets and between-species differences.

AgedBrainSYSBIO will combine integrative systems biology and comparative genomics for studying human brain ageing and most common age-related diseases with a special emphasis on LOAD, for identifying and validating new molecular targets and biomarkers.

Last update on 2016-07-22

AgedBrainSYSBIO has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research,
technological development and demonstration under grant agreement No 305299
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