New Ways to combat neurodegenerative Diseases
To provide fresh impetus to Germany’s biopharmaceutical research sector, the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) launched a pharmaceutical research initiative entitled »BioPharma: For the Medicine of Tomorrow«. Neuroallianz emerged as one of the winning consortia of the tendering process.
The Neuroallianz Consortium has adopted an innovative, strategic partnership model to facilitate collaborative research between both academic institutions and pharmaceutical companies. The goal is to improve diagnosis and therapeutic intervention in neurodegenerative diseases. Neuroallianz began in 2009 with a focus on Alzheimer, Parkinson and epilepsy as the core target diseases.
The consortium is subdivided into several therapeutic, diagnostic and infrastructure projects. As a strategic partner in the Central IT Platform (CIP) infrastructure project, SCAI has developed a joint information technology platform to support collaborative research between the partner organizations. This platform addresses a broad spectrum of functionalities including:
- Secure management and exchange of documents and data.
- IT support for cross-project collaborative work.
- Provision of data mining functionality (including »data mining workflows«).
The CIP consists of modules that encapsulate specific functionality e.g. a single-sign-on mechanism and provide failure-free and safe operation of the entire system. The groupware BSCW was adapted to support the collaboration of the project partners and to integrate all components of the system. Specific data mining modules are offered in the form of pre-configured, automatically executed workflows. A module for text mining is based on the semantic search engine SCAIView.
Project partners can access a shared workspace containing all functionalities and modules via web interface. The development of the system has been performed in close cooperation with experts in UCB Pharma. The IT infrastructure meets the safety requirements of the industrial project partners. An additional goal is to develop »in-silico« methods for identification and validation of new target proteins involved in the mechanism of neurodegenerative diseases.
The provision of this infrastructure to the Neuroallianz consortium will be extended over the lifetime of all projects. Moreover, SCAI and UCB Pharma have initiated another Neuroallianz project for the prediction and discovery of novel biomarkers for neurodegenerative diseases.
Project duration: 01/2009 – 05/2018