Data and sample sharing as an enabler for large-scale biomarker research and development: The EPND perspective

The EPND Consortium

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Biomarker discovery, development, and validation are reliant on large-scale analyses of high-quality samples and data. Currently, significant quantities of data and samples have been generated by European studies on Alzheimer's disease (AD) and other neurodegenerative diseases (NDD), representing a valuable resource for developing biomarkers to support early detection of disease, treatment monitoring, and patient stratification. However, discovery of, access to, and sharing of data and samples from AD and NDD research are hindered both by silos that limit collaboration, and by the array of complex requirements for secure, legal, and ethical sharing. In this Perspective article, we examine key challenges currently hampering large-scale biomarker research, and outline how the European Platform for Neurodegenerative Diseases (EPND) plans to address them. The first such challenge is a fragmented landscape filled with technical barriers that make it difficult to discover and access high-quality samples and data in one location. A second challenge is related to the complex array of legal and ethical requirements that must be navigated by researchers when sharing data and samples, to ensure compliance with data protection regulations and research ethics. Another challenge is the lack of broad-scale collaboration and opportunities to facilitate partnerships between data and sample contributors and researchers, in addition to a lack of regulatory engagement early in the research process to enable validation of potential biomarkers. A further challenge facing projects is the need to remain sustainable beyond initial funding periods, ensuring data and samples are shared and reused, thereby driving further research and innovation. In addressing these challenges, EPND will enable an environment of faster and more disruptive research on diagnostics and disease-modifying therapies for Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1031091
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2022


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • biomarker research
  • cohort
  • data-sharing
  • neurodegenerative disease
  • platforms
  • sample-sharing

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