Diagnostics & Therapy
The aetiology of neurodegenerative diseases remains enigmatic. New therapeutic or even preventive approaches are urgently needed. Effective non-invasive diagnostic tools or successful therapies for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Disease are still missing, though the progression of disease can be attenuated, when treated early. Genetic risk factors have been identified that point to discrete mechanisms of neurodegenerative disease including proper protein processing and degradation, maintenance of neuronal wiring and communication and oxidative stress. However, the hallmark of disease progression, cell death, cannot be halted in most cases and the diseases remain incurable.
A better understanding of risk factors and pathomechanisms can enable earlier diagnosis, prevention or treatment in the future and when used for early diagnosis and treatment, create a substantial shift of disease onset and progression. This can increase life quality and may have tremendous benefit for patients as well as for society.
The post-genomic strategies chosen offer a conceptually novel opportunity to understand disease mechanisms on the organismic level in that they combine classical reductionistic analysis with systematic genomic approaches. Based on this concept we now aim at 1) developing therapeutic approaches that rationally target factors, pathways and mechanisms, that predispose for or cause disease and 2) identify and qualify protective factors and mechanisms that increase the regenerative capacity of the intact brain.