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EU funds the fight against Alzheimer's and Prion diseases

The EU has granted nearly 5 million Euros to the project LUPAS to establish novel molecular tools and technologies for diagnosis and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease. LUPAS is an acronym for Luminescent Polymers for in vivo imaging of Amyloid Signatures and it is funded by the European Commission within the Seventh Framework Programme and coordinated by Linköping University, Sweden.

The LUPAS project seeks to bridge the gap between diagnosis and treatment of both Alzheimer disease and prion diseases. By developing novel agents and methods for diagnostic imaging of accumulations of misfolded proteins so called amyloid plaque it is possible to improve quality of diagnosis as well as facilitate monitoring and understanding of the disease progression. The novel molecular imaging tools are based on luminescent conjugated polymers, LCPs, a material normally used for electronic applications, such as light emitting diodes (LEDs). It was discovered by the researchers forming the LUPAS consortium that these molecules bind effectively to amyloid plaques. Through the specific a luminescent fingerprint of the LCPs, the amyloid plaques can easily be visualized and recognized. Moreover, the molecular scaffolds will be tested as therapeutically active agents for prevention of protein aggregation diseases and could possibly facilitate treatment of AD and prionoses in the future.

“The skills within the LUPAS consortium will undoubtedly bring forward novel tools for understanding the pathological hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease and prionoses ,” Professor Hammarstrom (the LUPAS coordinator) said. “Within the 3 year time frame of LUPAS we will develop these tools for use in disease models systems in vivo and on histolological ex vivo samples from humans. If successful it will take a few more years to apply this technology in the clinic” he added.

The LUPAS partners are assembled from a wide range of areas ranging from experts within organic synthetic chemistry, synthetic nano chemistry, amyloid structure, prion disease, Alzheimer’s disease, magnetic resonance imaging, multi-photon physics and hyper spectral imaging. This group form the critical mass of skills needed to reach the project’s ambitious goals.

The partner organisations in the LUPAS consortium are:

Linköping University (Sweden),

Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 (France)

University of Tübingen (Germany)

Norwegian University of Science and Technology (Norway)

Zürich University Hospital (Switzerland)

Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin (Germany)

Applied Spectral Imaging (Israel)

Genovis AB (Sweden)

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Therese Winder 2010-03-22

Page manager: therese.winder@liu.se
Last updated: 2010-09-24