Today the US National Institute of Health (NIH) announced the opening of the data portal for the Accelerating Medicines Partnership for Parkinson’s disease (or AMP-PD) initiative.
This research program is a MASSIVE collaborative effort between the NIH, multiple biopharmaceutical/life sciences companies, and non-profit organisations.
It involves a pooling together of “well characterized cohorts with existing biosamples and clinical data”, and making this data available for researchers in order to identify and validate diagnostic, prognostic, and progression biomarkers.
In today’s post, we will look at what the AMP-PD initiative is, and consider how it could help to accelerate the development of novel therapies for Parkinson’s.
The US National Institute of Health Clinical Research Center, Bethesda, Maryland. Source: Wikipedia
In the late 1870s, the US ongress allocated funding for the investigation of the causes of specific epidemics (such as cholera and yellow fever). An urgent need was recognised and the US congress acted.
In doing so, however, it not only created the National Board of Health, but it also made medical research an official government initiative.
The National Board of Health was re-designated several times and in 1930 the US National Institutes of Health (or NIH) was born.
The NIH has gone on to become one of the largest funders of medical research in the world. And some of the numbers are really staggering (Source):
- The NIH invests nearly $39.2 billion annually in medical research
- More than 80% of the NIH’s funding is awarded to over 50,000 competitive grants.
- These grants fund 300,000 researchers at more than 2,500 universities/research institutions in every US state and around the world.
- About 10% of the NIH’s budget supports projects conducted by nearly 6,000 scientists in its own laboratories
It is an institution that can seriously change the landscape for medical research. And recently it has been trying to do this via AMP programmes.
What are AMP programmes?
On the 26-31st March, the 14th International Conference on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases (or ADPD meeting) was held in Lisbon, Portugal.
For 5 days – between 8:30am and 7:30pm each day – over 4000 researchers were able to attend lectures of new results and ideas, in any of 8 different auditoriums. Alternatively, they could wander among hundreds of research posters.
It was a marathon effort, however, for all attendees. And a great deal of new results were shared.
In today’s post, we will discussed what was presented at the 2019 ADPD meeting and what was actually learnt.
Lisbon. Source: stmed
Lisbon is a city, midway down the western coast of the Iberian Peninsula.
It is home to a little over 500,000 people (3 million in the wider metropolitan area), and it serves as the capital city for the Portuguese people.
The Castelo de Sao Jorge, rises above Lisbon. Source: Wikipedia
Interestingly, it is the 2nd oldest European capital city (after Athens), and has had a rich and fascinating history given its strategic location. But on the 1st November 1755, 20% of the population were killed and 85% of the city’s structures were destroyed by a terrible earthquake and subsequent tsunami, which resulted in the vast majority of the city being rebuilt.
The ‘new city’ is laid out in bairros de Lisboa (neighbourhoods of Lisbon) across a hilly landscape, providing views of the River Tagus at every vantage point. And while walking the steep cobblestoned streets is delightful, there is a system of vintage public trams that can take a lot of the leg work out of the effort.
During the last week of March 2019, Lisbon was the site of the ADPD meeting.
What is the ADPD meeting?