“la Caixa” Foundation and Francisco Luzón Foundation to fund Navarrabiomed and CHN project to search for ALS biomarkers

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“la Caixa” Foundation and Francisco Luzón Foundation to fund Navarrabiomed and CHN project to search for ALS biomarkers

  • Led by Dr. Maite Mendioroz Iriarte and Dr. Ivonne Jericó Pascual, the research project was awarded €482,847 in funding

The annual call for health research projects organized by “la Caixa” Foundation and the Francisco Luzón Foundation singled out a project that focuses on the development of a non-invasive test to detect amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, and other neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer-type dementia (ATD). The project is led by Maite Mendioroz Iriarte, the principal researcher in Navarrabiomed’s Neuroepigenetics Unit, and Ivonne Jericó Pascual, a neurologist and researcher in the Neurology Service of the Hospital Complex of Navarre (CHN). The initiative has been awarded a grant of €482,847.

Early detection of ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases is a daunting task, given the impossibility of accessing the central nervous system in living patients, as explained by “la Caixa” Foundation. However, a non-invasive test known as a liquid biopsy is now available as a source of biomarkers in neurodegenerative diseases.

The aim of this project is to identify epigenetic markers in fragments of DNA in blood plasma from neurons affected by neurodegeneration and thus facilitate diagnosis of ALS and ATD. A blood test can reveal information about what is happening in the central nervous system of living patients.

Collaboration with the Universidad de Navarra

A second project selected by “la Caixa” Foundation is led by Felipe Prósper, a researcher at the Universidad de Navarra. Also collaborating on the project is David Gómez-Cabrero, principal researcher in the Translational Bioinformatics Unit at Navarrabiomed, as part of a research consortium that includes the Foundation and Center for Applied Medical Research (FIMA/CIMA), and the University of Cambridge (United Kingdom). In this case, the team will work on analyzing the production of blood to better understand the most aggressive forms of leukemia. One of the goals is to identify new treatments that target the cause of the disease. The project has been awarded €999,410 in funding.

These initiatives were chosen in the third call for health research projects from “la Caixa” Foundation, which awarded €18 million to a total of 25 projects. Since the program began in 2017, the Foundation has granted nearly €50 million to 75 research projects. “la Caixa” Foundation will open the fourth call for new project applications on 20 October 2020.

Research team of the project led by Maite Mendioroz Iriarte and Ivonne Jericó Pascual
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