Program 1: Alzheimer's disease and other degenerative dementias

The aging population and longer life expectancy in our society have led in recent decades to a significant increase in cases of people with Alzheimer's disease (AD) disease, the most common cause of dementia in the elderly and against which there is no effective treatment to date. Currently, more than 500,000 people suffer from this disease in Spain. This figure could quadruple in the next 50 years, with devastating consequences not only for affected individuals and their families but also for the very stability of our health system. The hallmarks of AD are the presence in the patient’s brain of two aberrant structures, senile plaques and neurofibrillary tangles, as well as synapse loss (it is considered a synaptopathy), mainly between hippocampal and cortical neurons, and significant neurodegeneration. Some aspects of these pathologies can be reproduced in cellular or animal models.

 Laboratories around the world work with great interest in identifying new causal and risk genes involved in this pathology that could help clarify its pathophysiological basis and lead to the identification of new therapeutic targets. One of the main problems in the EA is that at the time of clinical diagnosis, the brain has already suffered too extensive and irreparable damage. This requires urgent finding of biomarkers as a way to detect the disease much earlier, even asymptomatic, phases when any therapeutic strategy would have a greater chance of success.

In this program, 22 groups of clinical and basic researchers are committed both to the diagnosis and care of patients suffering EA. Thus, research in the laboratory will continue over the next year 2016 combining experience and effort to work in a coordinated manner in the search for new genetic factors, disease biomarkers and new therapeutic strategies in AD and other degenerative dementias.

The main research lines are the following:

  • Genetic epidemiology
  • Research on disease-related biomarkers
  • Cellular and animal models of Alzheimer's disease and other degenerative dementias
  • Molecular pathology of Alzheimer's disease
  • Mechanisms of neurodegeneration, neuroprotection and design of new therapies.

Research groups

Principal Researcher Institution  
Jesús Ávila de Grado Centro de Biología Molecular "Severo Ochoa" CSIC-UAM, Madrid +Info
Eva Carro Diaz Hospital Universitario Doce de Octubre, Madrid +Info
Mª Jesús Bullido Gómez-Heras Universidad Autónoma de Madrid +Info
Antonio Camins Espuny Universidad de Barcelona +Info
José Luis Cantero Lorente Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Sevilla +Info
Joan Xavier Comella Carnice Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona +Info
Javier de Felipe Oroquieta Instituto Cajal, CSIC, Madrid +Info
Miguel Calero Lara Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid +Info
Isidro Ferrer Abizanda Instituto de Investigación Biomédica de Bellvitge, Barcelona +Info
Antonia Gutiérrez Pérez Universidad de Málaga +Info
Alberto Lleó Bisa Hospital Sta. Cruz y S. Pablo, Barcelona +Info
Carlos Matute Almau Universidad del País Vasco, Bilbao +Info
Guadalupe Mengod los Arcos Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas CSIC, Barcelona +Info
José Rodríguez Álvarez Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona +Info
Javier Sáez Valero Universidad Miguel Hernández, Elche +Info
Eduardo Soriano García Universidad de Barcelona +Info
Ignacio Torres Alemán Instituto Cajal, CSIC, Madrid +Info
Ramón Trullas Oliva Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas CSIC , Barcelona +Info
Francisco Javier Vitorica Ferrández Universidad de Sevilla +Info
Francisco Wandosell Jurado Centro de Biología Molecular "Severo Ochoa" CSIC-UAM, Madrid +Info


Program 1 is coordinated by Drs. Alberto Lleó (Santa Creu i San Pau Hospital) and Jesús Ávila de Grado (Center for Molecular Biology "Severo Ochoa" CSIC-UAM, Madrid).


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