One of Mission Lucidity’s projects is to build a data and knowledge platform that accelerates the fight against Alzheimer’s and makes it more focused. How? Through collaboration with tech companies from Flanders. Going by the name of Prisma, the project received a capital injection of EUR 4.5 million from Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship at the beginning of 2020. “We aim to map the genetic risks of Alzheimer’s disease in detail based on patient data,” explains Elsa Lauwers, a senior research manager at Flanders’ strategic research VIB who is closely involved in the development of Mission Lucidity.
Recent data indicates that around 60 to 80% of the risk of developing the disease is genetically determined. That’s much higher than previously thought. Much of that risk, however, appears to come from genes that are related to the immune system, but further research is required to make sure. That’s why the Prisma project is building a database to map the link between genetic profiles and the manifestation of the disease. This daunting task was entrusted to ONTOFORCE, a data specialist from Ghent (Flanders), known as the ‘Google of Pharma’, which recently also launched a special version of its knowledge discovery platform to help researchers, scientists, healthcare providers and citizens manage the COVID-19 information stream.
“We know that some genes play a role in Alzheimer’s disease, but in an indirect way. We therefore need to gain more insight into the underlying causal relationships,” comments ONTOFORCE’s scientific director Filip Pattyn. “The aim of the project is to achieve a risk score system, through which we can indicate whether a person has a low or high risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease based on their genome – i.e. their genetic ‘map’ – and immune parameters in their blood.”