DISQOVER supports the PRISMA consortium in the development of precision medicine for Alzheimer’s

The PRISMA consortium has been founded with the goal to push Alzheimer’s disease into the field of personalized medicine. ONTOFORCE is proud to be playing a pivotal role in the consortium's project.

21 September 2023 3 minutes

Alzheimer's disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that predominantly affects the elderly population, though early-onset forms can affect younger individuals. Characterized by memory loss, cognitive decline, and behavioral changes, it is the most common cause of dementia (accounting for up to 80% of cases). Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer's, but various treatments aim to alleviate symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. Research into its underlying mechanisms continues with the hope of developing more effective therapies in the future. 

The PRISMA consortium (Polygenic Risc scoring and deep-Immunophenotyping Strategy to Master Alzheimer's disease), kicked off in 2020, has been founded with the goal to push Alzheimer’s disease into the field of personalized medicine. By combining R&D and clinical care, the project also aims to create a unique ecosystem for Alzheimer clinical trials in Belgium’s Flanders. 

Bringing together different partners from diverse disciplines, both research and industry, the PRISMA consortium is made up of six partners: VIB, imec, KU Leuven, ONTOFORCE, reMYND, and Hict. 

DISQOVER: making data accessible and collaborative for the PRISMA consortium  

 Data is the lifeblood of scientific and medical research. However, collecting, analyzing, and sharing vast amounts of data is often fraught with challenges, from interoperability issues to accessibility concerns. This is where ONTOFORCE steps in with its DISQOVER platform for the PRISMA consortium.  

DISQOVER is a knowledge discovery platform developed specifically for the life sciences industry. DISQOVER seamlessly connects an organization’s internal, siloed data with licensed data and public data in one easy-to-use, customizable platform, enabling efficient data exploration and analysis. DISQOVER has over 10,000 users across the globe and is deployed by many leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Users include scientific researchers, bioinformaticians, data scientists, and many other roles. 

The ability to link research data with publicly available knowledge and data was identified by the PRISMA consortium as a need for the project. The DISQOVER platform enables this ability and has been an effective tool for connecting public data and data from the different stakeholders in academic and industry within the project.  

Additionally, ONTOFORCE’s data team creates and maintains remote data subscription (RDS) packages, which are domain-specific data sets compiled from top public data sources tailored to the use of DISQOVER. These packages can be retrieved and ingested into the platform, providing users with the flexibility to make data integration choices based on their use cases so they can optimally use and explore data. The target identification RDS package has been perfectly suited for the research being conducted in the PRISMA project and the extension of the RDS technology has allowed for easier data sharing between consortium partners.  

On top of this, the extension of the DISQOVER plugin architecture has enabled connection with downstream applications, which has facilitated further data analysis and collaboration among partners. Additionally, the plugin architecture has permitted for a customized search capability fitted to PRISMA researchers.  

“The successful implantation of streamlining data collection, integration, sharing, and analysis through the DISQOVER platform has led to enhanced collaboration, improved efficiency, and valuable insights in the project,” says Tine Geldhof, ONTOFORCE Senior Data Solutions Specialist and liaison to the consortium.  


What’s next for PRISMA? 

By stepping into the PRISMA consortium and sharing the power of the DISQOVER platform, ONTOFORCE is proud to be playing a pivotal role in advancing the landscape of precision medicine for Alzheimer's disease.  

 One year still remains for the PRISMA project, in which many project outcomes will be realized. Ultimately, the goal of the consortium is not only to use and apply the project’s findings to improve the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease but also to develop novel treatments and monitor its prognosis. With a unified goal and state-of-the-art tools at the project’s disposal, the consortium is optimistic about making strides in our understanding and treatment of Alzheimer's. 

Future collaborative projects between academia and industry that enable translational research, such as the PRISMA consortium, will be much needed to bridge the gap between fundamental research and clinical practice. 

You can learn more about the PRISMA consortium and its collaboration here