European researchers working on the neuGRID project hope that by collecting images from brain scans of Alzheimer’s sufferers and then analysing them through a grid computer network, they will be able to monitor the effectiveness of drugs aimed at targeting the disease.
The researchers hope that initially, the project will provide neuroscientists with the capability to identify neurodegenerative disease markers through the analysis of the three dimensional magnetic resonance brain images.
The neuGRID project itself is a collaborative research and development project funded by the European Commission within the Seventh Framework Programme. It is being is led by Dr Giovanni Frisoni, vice scientific director of the San Giovanni di Dio Fatebenefratelli Institute in Brescia in Northern Italy.
Since neuGRID works on medical data of real patients, special attention has been paid to data protection and privacy – hence, the development of standards and data protection protocols in accordance with European emerging standards for deploying such computer grids in the health sector falls within the remit of the researchers’ work too.
neuGRID ultimate purpose is to supply clinical research centres on Alzheimer’s disease with access to powerful computational resources, sophisticated algorithms which are necessary to process the brain images, and access to huge databases which are currently being collected worldwide.