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Home About NEUROBID
General

Summary

Brain disease, encompassing both psychiatric and neurologic disease, represents a major public health problem in Europe and worldwide. It is one of the most prevalent and costly groups of diseases in Europe, with estimated total annual costs (2004 data) amounting to 386 billion Euro or 829 Euro per individual living in Europe (1). Data collected by the World Health Organization (WHO) suggest that brain diseases are responsible for 35% of Europe’s total disease burden (2). An analysis of all epidemiological and health economic studies in Europe published by the European Brain Council in 2005 found that across 28 European countries (the European Union plus Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland) with a total population of 466 Million, 127 million (or 27%) of Europeans, children and adults at all stages, are affected by at least one form of brain disease (1). Improved prevention and treatment strategies are paramount in the attempt to reduce the individual and societal burdens associated with cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, stroke, schizophrenia and the many other devastating disorders that involve the central nervous system (CNS). In this scenario, prevention and treatment options rely heavily upon optimized pharmacologic access to the CNS. The major barriers between the systemic and CNS compartments are the blood-brain parenchyma barrier (microvessels) and blood-cerebrospinal fluid barrier (choroid plexus). Throughout this project, we refer to both collectively as the blood brain barrier (BBB) unless directing a specific research topic at only one of these interfaces.

The NEUROBID project was designed in recognition of the growing evidence that neurodevelopmental aspects are a key component of many neurologic disorders not only among children, but also among adults. NEUROBID is a small/medium-sized collaborative research project that brings together academic and small company investigators from the overarching research fields of developmental neurobiology and blood-brain barrier (BBB) research, and a wide range of interdisciplinary technical and specialist expertise. The major goals of the NEUROBID consortium are to understand the BBB in the developing brain (i) to improve understanding of neurological disorders of infancy and those in adults with developmental antecedents and (ii) to develop novel drug delivery strategies to the brain for large molecules.

We will study the BBB in the context of adverse perinatal exposures (such as systemic inflammation and hypoxia-ischemia) and adult neurologic disease models (such as stroke and multiple sclerosis) using a distinctively developmental approach.

This developmental approach is motivated by the recognition of three strongly related facts:

  • Neurodevelopmental disabilities have specific consequences during various phases of the life span of the affected individual, and many important adult diseases are (at least in part) of developmental origin (3).
  • The BBB in the developing brain is highly likely to play a key role in both scenarios (4).
  • The European Commission explicitly encourages the design of research projects targeted at health improvement for children and aging populations (5).

1. Andlin-Sobocki P, Jonsson B, Wittchen HU, Olesen J. Cost of disorders of the brain in Europe. Eur J Neurol 2005;12 Suppl 1:1-27.
2. Olesen J, Leonardi M. The burden of brain diseases in Europe. Eur J Neurol 2003;10(5):471-7.
3. Gluckman PD, Hanson MA, Cooper C, Thornburg KL. Effect of in utero and early-life conditions on adult health and disease. N Engl J Med 2008;359(1):61-73.
4. Saunders NR, Ek CJ, Habgood MD, Dziegielewska KM. Barriers in the brain: a renaissance? Trends Neurosci 2008;31(6):279-86.
5. EU. White paper together for health: A strategic approach for the eu 2008-2013.; 2007.

 



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Funded by the European Commisssion under the grant agreement n° HEALTH-F2-2009-241778.