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05/11/2020 - General information

The European Commission awards a six million euro grant to a project led by the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute

It will trial a new therapy to treat cognitive deficits in Down Syndrome sufferers

The ICOD (Improving Cognition in Down Syndrome) project is being coordinated by the Integrated Pharmacology and Systems Neuroscience Research Group, led by Dr. Rafael de la Torre. It will trial a new therapy to treat cognitive deficits in Down Syndrome sufferers. Six institutions from Spain, France and Italy are taking part.

A project led by the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM), has received a six million euro development grant from the European Commission. The Improving Cognition in Down Syndrome (ICOD) project was one of 75 projects selected within the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. Only nine projects coordinated by Catalan organisations will benefit from these grants, in the last year they are being awarded.

The IMIM's Integrated Pharmacology and Systems Neuroscience Research Group, led by Dr. Rafael de la Torre, is coordinating the ICOD project, which also involves Aelia Farma, the Jérôme Lejeune Institute, and the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Saint-Étienne, in France, the Associazione Oasis Maria SS Onlus, in Italy, and the Hospital Universitario de la Princesa, in Spain. Its objective is to clinically develop a new therapy (AEF0217) that improves the cognitive deficits associated with Down syndrome. This treatment comprises a new pharmacological class, never before tested on humans, involving the specific signalling inhibitors of the cannabinoid1 receptor (CB1-SSi). Hyperactivity of the cannabinoid system has been associated with the cognitive phenotype of people with Down syndrome.

The project will run for five years and its promoters are confident that the results will allow an initial treatment to be available for people with Down syndrome just six to seven years after its development is initiated.

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