This programme has been under development since the founding of the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases in 2009 and will be implemented for the first time in the third phase of programme-oriented funding beginning in 2014. Its aim is to examine the causes of nervous system disorders and create more efficient methods for their prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care. The research will focus above all on major neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, but will also address less common afflictions such as Huntington’s chorea, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and prion diseases.
Furthermore, researchers will study disorders that may in part be based on similar pathological processes or that are often associated with classical neurodegenerative diseases. In order to develop better strategies for diagnosis, treatment and care, it will be necessary, with the help of basic research, to learn more about disease mechanisms and the brain’s response to disease. For this purpose the programme will take a translational approach.
Research topics include molecular signal pathways in the nervous system, disease mechanisms and model systems, clinical research, health services research, population studies and genetics. Scientists will investigate, among other things, physiological ageing processes, the influences of inflammations and metabolic disorders, imaging methods for the early detection of disease and options for clinical intervention.