Projects

Healthy brain on the left and Alzheimer's on the right.
Cerebro sano a la izquierda y con Alzheimer a la derecha.

It is estimated that in Spain there are around 800,000 people suffering from neurodegenerative diseases, the majority of cases being patients with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. As neurodegenerative diseases represent one of the main causes of disability in the elderly, the number of those affected by these conditions is expected to increase dramatically in the next 50 years due to the anticipated increase in average life expectancy. The social and economic burden of this future scenario has not been overstated, especially given the fact that an aging population implies a shrinking workforce to carry this burden.

In Spain, CIBERNED acts as the main state research instrument and its function is to implement strategies to address the problems associated with neurodegenerative diseases. To achieve the maximum possible impact, CIBERNED has created a Cooperative Research Program to promote innovative and multidisciplinary approaches, as well as strengthen and extend existing capacities to the entire spectrum of basic, clinical, public health and translational research.

Thus, CIBERNED internally finances a series of large cooperative research projects, carried out by CIBERNED research groups and associated external groups, addressing important issues related to the diagnosis, treatment and elimination of neurodegenerative diseases. The idea is to stimulate translational research (that is, from the laboratory to clinical reality) between clinical and basic research groups, combining basic and clinical approaches and promoting the exchange of resources and know-how.

The cooperative program began in 2010, with the publication of a first call for projects. These projects had to be large-scale, highly competitive, and combine the complementary efforts and capacities of different groups, with the aim of achieving international recognition for the center, addressing important issues related to the diagnosis, treatment and elimination of neurodegenerative diseases. The idea is to stimulate translational research (that is, from the laboratory to clinical reality) between clinical and basic research groups, thus combining basic and clinical approaches and fostering the exchange of resources and know-how.

Each proposal has a coordinator and the participation of other CIBERNED groups, and even external groups (not funded). The proposals, although subject to the approval of the Steering Committee, are reviewed by an evaluation committee external to CIBERNED, so that the allocation of funds is transparent. The projects are part of the lines of work of each Program, although it must be taken into account that the participation of groups from other Programs is also allowed. The objective pursued is to unite the best groups that are working on important issues within research on neurodegeneration.