Keynotes on causal biomarkers in dementia and developmental consequences of biomarkers within neurology and psychiatry

87.000 people in Denmark have Alzheimer's

87.000 people in Denmark have Alzheimer's
Ruth Frikke-Schmidt, MD, PhD, DMSc, Chief Physician, Rigshospitalet and Clinical Research Associate Professor, University of Copenhagen

In collaboration with the University of Copenhagen’s EIT Health Innovation, the opening speech at the Biomarker AGORA on 1 November 2017, is focused on aging and innovation. The research of Ruth Frikke-Schmidt Chief Physician, Rigshospitalet and Clinical Research Associate Professor, University of Copenhagen, is supported by EIT Health Innovation, promoting the necessary research in the causes of Alzheimer's disease. Below the synopsis of Ruth Frikke-Schmidt's speech:

BACKGROUND
More than 47 million people have Alzheimer’s disease – the most common form of dementia – and in Denmark alone the number is currently 87.000. Because of aging populations globally, the prevalence is anticipated to at least double from now and until 2040, and since dementia at present remains effectively untreatable, identifying causal pathways for drug development is of major importance.

VISION
The vision of the current proposal is to circumvent the threat of neurodegenerative diseases on quality of life in the expanding elderly population by combining unique epidemiologic, biologic and clinical data to establish causal molecular pathways and causal biomarkers for drug-discovery.

METHODS
We combine national studies of the Danish population (Statistics Denmark, 6 million individuals) with historic and real-time laboratory routine-care data (2,2 million patients). We use individual data on lifestyle measures, specific biomarkers and genetic variants on 200,000 individuals representing the general population. We use summary data from genetic consortia totaling >500,000 individuals on intermediate traits and on endpoints of neurodegenerative diseases. We develop protein quantification assays for biologically plausible Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers. For causal inferences we apply the principles of Mendelian Randomization that takes advantage of genetics in human populations.

PERSPECTIVES
This initiative will create a knowledge base for underlying mechanisms and causal inferences, and thus most likely pinpoint molecular pathways for drug-development. Additionally, implementation of biomarkers in robust risk prediction scores will facilitate the early identification of high-risk groups for neurodegenerative diseases, enabling the initiation of targeted prevention and treatment. By implementing these targeted strategies, we anticipate to avoid or to postpone the onset of dementia for a substantial number of individuals – of major importance for patients, relatives and society as a whole. 

Biomarkers within neurology and psychiatry

Biomarkers within neurology and psychiatry
Birgitte Søgaard is Divisional Director – Clinical and Quantitative Pharmacology, H. Lundbeck A/S.

Birgitte Søgaard is Divisional Director – Clinical and Quantitative Pharmacology, H. Lundbeck A/S.

She has worked with Clinical Pharmacology for more than 25 years with focus on the establishment of biological models to be able to quantify and describe biological responses to support drug development. This includes biomarker development within a number of therapeutic areas, bio banking and collaborations with consortia with the aim at selecting the right patients for the right treatment.

Birgitte Søgaard will give a keynote speech at the Biomarker AGORA 2017 on Developmental consequences of biomarkers within neurology and psychiatry.

“In strong contrast to decades of reductionist biology, which involves taking the pieces apart, approaches to understand the larger picture at the level of the organism, tissue or cell by putting its pieces together, has become possible due to increased computer power,” she says.

“Within accepted indications it makes sense to believe that it is possible to find sub-groups of patients with “homogeneous” bio-types/phenotypes/endophenotypes likely to represent target populations in “contrast to one size fits all”.  To be successful here, a strong collaboration is needed both from an international perspective but as much between public/private interties,” Birgitte Søgaard says.

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