Translational Neurogenetics Laboratory
To investigate the molecular mechanisms underlying neurodegenerative disorders we work with a variety of molecular and cellular biology techniques. Our facility is fully equipped to perform all aspects of cellular biological research and has biosafety class I and II laboratories.
Using skin biopsies from patients in our memory clinic we establish patient-specific cell cultures to dissect the molecular mechanisms of disease. The patient cells have also been used to induce pluripotent stem cells. These cell models form the basis of our work, in combination with additional advanced techniques such as image cytometry, fluorescence microscopy, viral vector generation and RNA interference.
Danish Dementia BioBank (DDBB)
DDBB was established in 2008 with the aim of collecting biological fluids for biomarker research in neurodegenerative diseases. DDBB contains 7,600 samples from patients referred to the Copenhagen Memory Clinic at Rigshospitalet and the Zealand University Hospital Memory Clinic.
Whole blood, buffy coat, EDTA plasma and serum are stored for all patients, as well as CSF from approximately 25% of the patients. The samples, handled and stored according to international biobank guidelines, have contributed to multiple international biomarker and stability studies.
Furthermore, skin biopsies are taken from selected patients and processed into live fibroblast cultures and stored for future research projects. These cultures have served as the basis for projects studying the molecular mechanisms underlying development of neurodegenerative disorders and been used in the development of new model systems for neurodegenerative disorders, e.g. induced pluripotent stem cells.
Clinical cohorts and intervention studies
To study how different neurodegenerative processes arise and become manifest, specific patient cohorts representing a wide range of diagnostic entities and cohorts of healthy controls and gene mutation carriers are the foundation of many DDRC research programmes. These patient cohorts make up an essential basis for most of our clinical studies, with the aim of improving diagnostic evaluation, treatment and care for patients with dementia and neurodegenerative disorders. Often, intervention studies require a large number of patients, demanding multicentre collaboration with national and international partners/memory clinics.
DDRC coordinated two largescale multicentre intervention studies, DAISY and ADEX, with more than 200 AD patients in each, resulting in two cohorts for future studies. A formalised platform for future collaboration on dementia research in Danish memory clinics has been established in the ADEX network, a multicentre Danish network comprising eight different memory clinics from across the country.
Danish national registries
Access to nationwide health care registries allows for very large population-based studies on the health service, risk factors, medication and outcome in neurodegenerative disorders. All Danish in and out-patients who have had contact with a Danish hospital are registered in national registries with basic information on clinical diagnoses and procedures. In some of the earliest epidemiological studies, our group examined the validity of dementia diagnoses. Since then, the unique national registries have been the basis for several studies on the quality of health care, pharmacoepidemiology, comorbidity and mortality in dementia.