The international CoEN network
The French centres of excellence on neurodegenerative diseases originated from an international initiative called CoEN (for Center of Excellence in Neurodegeneration) set-up to answer the societal and health challenges raised by the neurodegenerative diseases against our society.
The CoEN Network is initially based on an agreement signed in June 2010 between Canadian (CIHR), German (DZNE) and British (MRC) biomedical research institutions, subsequently joined by Belgian (VIB), Irish (HRB/SFI), Italian (MDS) institutions in October 2011 and by Spanish and Slovak institutions in October 2012. The French National Research Agency (ANR) has joined the program in 2015.
Calls for projects were used to “guide” the research centres’ scientific strategy toward selected flagship thematics. Four calls have been organized so far: a first call in 2011 for pilot studies, then three successive calls “Pathfinder I, II and III” aiming to identify new pathological mechanisms and thus, new therapeutic strategies.
The French CoEN: a measure of the 2014-2019 neurodegenerative diseases action national program
After three initiative programs on alzheimer disease, the french governement has declared a 5 years national initiative program on neurodegenerative diseases in November 2014. This program has the objective to reduce the barriers between experts on neurodegenerative diseases and to foster multidisciplinary researches.
The research aspect of the national program has two objectives: (1) To stimulate, organize and optimize researches on Neurodegenerative diseases in France; (2) To better understand neurodegenerative diseases to be able to prevent and treat it;
The ITMO “Neurosciences ; Cognitive sciences and Psychiatry” is in charge of steering the research program.
One of the 26 research measures of the initiative program aims to identify 5 to 7 centres of excellence in care and research on neurodegenerative diseases. A call for application was organized in 2015 with the following selection criteria of the centres were:
- Integrate all research domains on neurodegenerative diseases from basic sciences to human and social sciences: neurobiology, translational research, clinical research, research on care practice (care efficiency, health economy, ethic, social sciences, psychology…), epidemiology…
- Include the three main neurodegenerative diseases targeted by the national program: Alzheimer disease, Parkinson disease, multiple sclerosis
- Federate healthcare and research institutions (hospitals, universities and research institutes) and research support structures (clinical investigation, research federative projects, epidemiology…) in one place.
After an international review process, 7 centres of excellence were identified:
- Bordeaux : BIND, Bordeau Initiative for Neurodegenerative Disease, Université de Bordeaux;
- Grenoble : GREEN, Grenoble Excellence in Neurodegeneration, Université Grenoble-Alpes;
- Lille : LICEND, Lille Centre of Excellence for Neurodegenerative Disease, Université de Lille;
- Aix-Marseille: DHUNE-CE / DHUNE, Université Aix-Marseille;
- Montpellier : CoEN Montpellier, personalized medicine and biomarkers for neurodgenerative diseases, CHU de Montpellier;
- Paris : CoEn Paris, La Salpêtrière translational research centre on neurodegenerative disorders;
- Toulouse : NeuroToul, Neurodegenerative centre, CHU de Toulouse.