Leading the way in Alzheimer’s disease prevention

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The EPAD (European Prevention of Alzheimer’s Dementia) Programme was an Innovative Medicines Initiative that sought to develop a clinical trials platform for the Phase 2 testing of multiple intervention for the secondary prevention of Alzheimer’s Dementia. The €64M public: private partnership ran in 29 trial delivery centres (TDCs) across 9 European countries with 39 partner organisations from industry, academia and the 3rd sector. The University of Oxford was a key partner linking the work of DPUK into the EPAD Programme as well as leading the English sites in the delivery of the cohort component of the programme. The entire programme had 4 major components: [1] a Europe wide register of 500,000 people in parent cohorts, [2] a Longitudinal Cohort Study (LCS) which ultimately recruited 2,096 Research Participants who were all exceptionally deeply phenotyped including MRI, Blood, CSF and detailed cognitive assessment, [3] the Proof of Concept Platform and [4] the PI network working across the 29 TDCs. The data and biosamples from the project are now available for open access and collaboration respectively. The scale, ambition and complexity of the programme was such that the work package dedicated to project management had substantial resources to ensure that all elements of the programme worked seamlessly and synergistically together. This also meant that predefined deliverables were carefully tracked, managed and reported to the funder. One of the key success factors of EPAD was the collaboration of the Research Participants in all design and delivery elements of the programme through their representation via a series of national participants’ panels feeding into a Europe wide group which was represented at the annual EPAD General Assembly. However, perhaps the most important glue to hold the programme together and the 400+ researchers and academics who worked within it was the shared vision, clarity of objectives and passion to provide greater knowledge and insights to help understand and defeat Alzheimer’s disease as early in its course a as could be possible.