Research, Biobank and Biomarkers

Neurodegenerative diseases are diseases that affect the nervous system at various levels causing a progressive and irreversible deterioration of cognitive functions. Among these, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease are the most common. During the course of the disease, patients develop increasing difficulties in carrying out daily activities and in relating, progressively losing their autonomy, with a significant impact on their families and caregivers.

The development of solution treatments together with the need to better understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms responsible for the onset of neurodegenerative phenomena are the greatest challenges that scientific research seeks to respond to. In particular, in the last decade, research has focused on the study of biomarkers, or biological indicators of the disease that can be found in body fluids, such as blood, saliva and urine. Thanks to the easy availability of these biological samples, the identification of biomarkers would be an alternative and highly advantageous diagnostic approach compared to conventional methods, such as brain imaging and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analyzes, which are expensive, as well as invasive for the patient. In addition to the diagnostic utility, the development of biomarkers would allow a broader screening of the population at risk of the disease, informing about the prognosis, facilitating a more correct enrollment of patients in clinical trials, constituting a tool for the evaluation of more specific drug treatments.

Always dedicated to the treatment and rehabilitation of neurological diseases, for some years CCPP has started research projects aimed at studying and identifying potential biomarkers in the blood for diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and Stroke . Using a multidisciplinary medical-health staff, CCPP provides a neurological and neuropsychological assessment of healthy individuals or those affected by neurodegenerative diseases; those who express their will, by signing an informed consent, can donate their blood and CSF samples for research purposes. The blood is then processed by CCPP biologists who divide it into plasma, serum, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC), DNA. All samples are adequately recorded and stored in the CCPP BioBank which is part of the Italian network BBMRI (Biobanking and Bio-Molecular Resources research Infrastructure of Italy), National Node of the European Research Infrastructure of Biobanks and BioMolecular Resources (BBMRI-ERIC). Subsequently, the Neurobiology Laboratory for translational medicine of CCPP carries out the characterization of biological samples through different biochemical and molecular methods, with the aim of identifying the degenerative mechanisms underlying the disease and any specific biomarkers.

The interconnected activity of the medical-scientific team, made up of doctors, psychologists, biologists, bioengineers and other professionals, allows to integrate the in-depth clinical knowledge of the neurological patient with the results obtained in the laboratory, in order to always adopt therapeutic and rehabilitative treatments. more personalized and improve personal care.