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New European alliance tackles urgent challenge of neurodegenerative diseases, Leuven researchers strongly involved

21 December 2020

Top research institutes from Germany, France, Belgium and the UK have formed a new alliance to combat neurodegenerative diseases. Their mission? Catalysing a United Response in Europe to Neurodegenerative Diseases, or CURE-ND for short.

KU Leuven
UZ Leuven

Neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, affect millions of people globally, with a significant impact on individuals, families, economies and wider society. Worldwide, around 50 million people have some form of dementia, and there are nearly 10 million new cases every year. Finding ways to prevent, treat and cure neurodegeneration is one of today’s most urgent medical needs.

Leading neuroscientists from four top European research institutes believe that collaboration is the best way forward to meet this challenge. The German Centre for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), the Paris Brain Institute, Mission Lucidity in Belgium and the UK Dementia Research Institute have committed to share expertise and present a strong united voice to champion brain research and put an end to historic underfunding of the field in Europe.

Prof. Pierluigi Nicotera, Scientific Director of DZNE: “The added value of connecting the major European organizations that conduct research into neurodegeneration has become increasingly clear in recent years.” A new alliance is now born: CURE-ND. “With CURE-ND, we want to catalyse a united response in Europe to tackle these diseases.”

“Together, we represent a critical mass of more than 2000 researchers”, adds Prof. Alexis Brice, Director General of the Paris Brain Institute. “We have clear synergies and complementarities among our centres, which should allow a very efficient and powerful response. Our alliance embraces a joint effort to accelerate the pace of scientific discovery and nurture breakthroughs in the field of neurodegenerative diseases.”

Prof. Dr. Mathieu Vandenbulcke, Scientific Chairman of Mission Lucidity: “Our ambitious initiative ranges from uncovering disease mechanisms to improving clinical care. CURE-ND will facilitate the development and global implementation of neurotechnologies that enhance care for today’s and tomorrow’s patients.”

Besides bringing together excellent science to accelerate research and improve clinical care, CURE-ND aims to raise global awareness of the need to urgently address the challenge of neurodegenerative diseases, and to lobby for the necessary funding to be committed to research in this area. The partners are calling for a long-term vision and funding of brain research by Europe.

“Collaborating across borders to address neurodegeneration is more important than ever. With the ongoing pandemic, budget cuts in Horizon Europe and uncertainty around Brexit, I’m proud that these leading institutes are taking responsibility for driving forward much-needed progress. Now is the time to pull together, not pull apart”, concludes Prof. Bart De Strooper, Director of the UK Dementia Research Institute.

About Mission Lucidity

Founded in 2018, Mission Lucidity is a partnership between four research institutes in Leuven, Belgium: imec, KU Leuven, UZ Leuven and VIB. Together, they aim to develop ground-breaking technologies to better understand, predict, diagnose and treat neurodegenerative diseases. www.missionlucidity.com

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