Pan European Networks - Horizon 2020 - page 49

“People really need to consider the food they eat,”she warned. “Young
people eat food and don’t consider the full consequences of their diets
until they grow much older. However, when citizens do develop major,
progressive diseases, it’s often too late. What you eat in your younger
years will decide your future health.
“We need to educate people to not wait and consider implications too
late in life – such action will benefit society, particularly as there is
currently no prevention for Alzheimer’s, an important issue to note. There
is also no early diagnosis for the disease – it is totally unpredictable
whether it will develop in a person.
“However, what is becoming clearer is that the biomarkers, such as
AGEs, can lead to Alzheimer’s. With difficulties in diagnosing the
condition, it is hard to develop a suitable preventative therapy. With
diagnosis remaining quite late, it is more important than ever to
recognise trends and biomarkers that could lead to this form of
dementia developing,” Perrone commented.
“Our paper strongly suggests the importance of first assessing the
nutrition of a person and evaluating their diet. By determining the
nutritional content of a diet and what foods are eaten, we can help
determine the likelihood of developing conditions and diseases, i.e. AGEs
act as a biomarker for Alzheimer’s and we can help determine the early
signs of mild dementia before it becomes Alzheimer’s.
“Though more tests need to be conducted, such breakthroughs are very
important. Biomarkers such as AGEs are important in the short term for
early diagnosis, whilst in the long term, they can be important and
beneficial to education, particularly in some societies.”
Perrone’s and Grant’s findings offer a startling and important insight
into recognising, and possibly preventing, the development of
neurodegenerative diseases. The research is particularly important in
confirming the diagnostic potential of AGEs during preclinical and clinical
studies, and it will now be important for the scientific community to
design new therapies aimed at blocking AGE accumulation in order to
prevent Alzheimer’s. The direct recognition of a build-up of AGEs with
Alzheimer’s could have a substantial impact on helping improve public
health if the right action is taken.
However, it is difficult to encourage changes in the human diet, not least
modifying the quantity of food that is cooked. Although such research is
highly valuable, it will be up to the consumer to make the final dietary
and nutritional choices.
beans and legumes, fruit or vegetables.
Consequently, it is important to consume more
fish and eat less meat, thus helping to avoid
obesity, the build-up of AGEs and, consequently,
the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s.”
Marking the future
Perrone concluded by emphasising three core
ideas: the need to modify current lifestyles,
particularly in North America; the necessity of
changing cooking and eating habits, principally
those of young people; and the importance of
better educating society on the effects their
diets are having. Such new, early diagnostic
tools in the form of biomarkers could also
indicate the potential development of chronic
neurodegenerative diseases in the future.
Dr Lorena Perrone
Université de Poitiers
2 0 2 0
H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L
An ageing medicine
The year 2015 marks the 50th anniversary
of the introduction of the first EU legislation
on human medicines. Council Directive
65/65 introduced clear rules on the
authorisation and distribution of medicinal
products, including founding principles that
are still valid today. A particular achievement
concerns legislation regarding the
manufacturing of advanced therapy medicinal products; this
involves gene transfer and the manipulation of cells or tissue
engineering. Such medications offer hope for life-threatening
diseases and other unmet medical needs, such as
neurodegenerative disorders, cancers and conditions related to the
ageing population.
In a statement to mark the health policy milestone, Vytenis
Andriukaitis, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety,
said: “Medicines authorised in the EU are of the highest quality and
undergo a detailed assessment regarding their benefits and risk
before being placed on the market. European pharmaceutical
legislation has throughout the years resulted in one of the safest
and most advanced systems for monitoring the safety, quality and
efficacy of medicines while at the same time supporting and
promoting research and innovation.”
In 2007, the Council of the European Union and the European
Parliament passed the Regulation on Advanced Therapy Medicinal
Products, which is designed to ensure a high level of public health
protection and the free movement of these products in the EU. One
of the main elements of this regulation is a centralised marketing
authorisation procedure, benefitting the pooling of expertise at
European level and providing direct access to the EU market in
addition to special incentives for SMEs.
Vytenis Andriukaitis
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