EPAD was launched with the goal of finding ways to identify and treat people in the very earliest stage of Alzheimer’s disease – before they even start to experience symptoms. At the heart of the project was a longitudinal cohort study (LCS), during which 2 000 people underwent cognitive tests, clinical assessments and imaging scans and provided blood, cerebro-spinal fluid (CSF), saliva and urine samples. Participants were followed up to gain insights into how different measures change over time.
The LCS resulted in a wealth of data and samples, and EPAD released the first batch of data to the research community back in 2019, while the LCS was still ongoing. The final EPAD dataset went into open access for researchers worldwide in November 2020. This contains the final longitudinal data from all 2 000 participants of the EPAD LCS.
The LCS data is available to the research community via the Alzheimer’s Disease Workbench, an open, cloud-based platform that allows researchers worldwide to share data, resources and tools relating to Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. EPAD was the first project to add its entire dataset to the AD Workbench, which is managed by the recently-created Alzheimer’s Disease Data Initiative (ADDI).
Now, EPAD has added genomic data from the LCS to the AD Workbench, effectively providing new knowledge to the global research community and opening up new opportunities for research.
‘At the heart of the EPAD Programme was an explicit commitment, responsibility and obligation to ensure that the time and effort of research participants and researchers yielded the highest quality outputs of knowledge,’ said EPAD project coordinator Craig Ritchie of the University of Edinburgh.
‘The global visibility and ease of access and research which ADDI provides helps us to achieve our objective. We expect that in the months ahead, new data being collected from further research/analysis of EPAD samples and other programmes run within the Edinburgh Dementia Prevention will utilise the AD workbench making AD data findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable (according to the FAIR principles).’
EPAD was supported by the Innovative Medicines Initiative, a partnership between the European Union and the European pharmaceutical industry.
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