PRLog - Aug. 31, 2012 - Already boasting seven officially recognised high-tech clusters of excellence, the Lille region has again demonstrated its research expertise. DISTALZ, a new research institute, has gained national recognition, putting the Lille region in a leading position amongst R&D facilities involved in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.
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DISTALZ is part of France’s national Alzheimer Plan, as well as the pan-European research strategy encompassed by the EU Joint Programme — Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND), under the heading: Tackling the Challenge of Alzheimer’s and other Neurodegenerative Diseases in Europe. The EU Joint Programme to combat Alzheimer’s is structured around a joint initiative involving 23 countries and is intended, among other aims, to improve funding efficiency in this field.
As one of six projects in the Lille region to be certified as Laboratories of Excellence by the French government, DISTALZ has received €12 million in funding from the French authorities. The laboratory’s objective is to explore the biological processes involved in Alzheimer’s disease and to develop new therapeutic targets as well as new biomarkers for the disease.
DISTALZ will pursue the characterisation of Alzheimer’s disease’s genetic components, and its R&D teams will study the impact of those genes and the avenues thus identified, using experimental models. The laboratory will also develop genetic and biological tests — taking into account any interactions that may occur with other neurodegenerative and cerebrovascular diseases — while sticking to a personalised approach to medical treatment.
DISTALZ will speed up the transfer of any discoveries over to the clinical stage by facilitating access to qualified patients suffering the early stages of the disease. This should have positive psychological, social and ethical consequences stemming from early diagnosis.
DISTALZ’s work is driven by the Centre for Research and Further Education (or PRES) at the University of Lille Nord de France. The R&D facility is focused on one of the priority areas of the Nutrition Health & Longevity cluster of excellence. Certified by the French Government in 2005, the Nutrition Health & Longevity high-tech cluster brings together health- and food-industry players around such public-health issues as prevention through nutrition, or the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, metabolic disorders, and diseases relating to ageing.
Since DISTALZ is considered a Centre of Excellence for Alzheimer’s disease that is comparable to other centres worldwide, it will strengthen France’s position and reinforce regional excellence in this field.
Photo credit: top picture, Tate & Lyle; middle picture, Genfit.
About Nord France Invest
Nord France Invest is the publicly funded investment-promotion agency for the city of Lille and its region. The agency helps businesses to develop and assists them in making the most of their move to Northern France.
Drawing on expertise across a wide range of fields, Nord France Invest and its network partners offer personalised and fully confidential services to investors, free of charge, from the initial decision through to the launch and follow-up. In pursuing these aims, Nord France Invest draws on the skills of its own staff, combined with expert input from an extensive network of regional and international partners.
For further information about JPND — Tackling the Challenge of Alzheimer’s and other Neurodegenerative Diseases in Europe, please go to: http://www.neurodegenerationresearch.eu/
For further information about Nord France Invest, please go to: www.nordfranceinvest.fr