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50,000 euros awarded as part of the 8th edition of Espoir en tête

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Published on Monday, 20 July 2020

Organised for the 8th consecutive year, the Espoir en tête project, initiated by the Rotary Clubs of Luxembourg, raised 50,000 euros for research on brain diseases in Luxembourg.

Every year, the Espoir en tête project enables the collection of donations through the organisation of previews and exceptional screenings in the Kinepolis cinemas in Kirchberg and Belval. 

In 2020, the film "The Call of the Wild", an adaptation of Jack London's novel, was shown on Sunday 1 March. Invited by the Luxembourg Rotary Clubs, around 3450 spectators attended. For each ticket sold, eight euros were donated to research on brain diseases in Luxembourg.

With the support of other donors, a total of 50,000 euros was raised in the end. A sum that will be used to finance two research projects, each of which will be supported with 25,000 euros. The first project focuses on dementia, the second on glioblastoma.

The MCI-BIOME project (LCSB)

Dementia is one of the greatest scientific, medical, and socio-economic challenges of our time. It affects more than 6,500 people in Luxembourg, with incidence numbers projected to double within the next 20 years. Today, there is no medical treatment to prevent, halt, or reverse the progression of neurodegeneration underlying dementia. From a population perspective, individuals with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) are at the highest risk of progress towards dementia. 

In this context and in order to design future preventive and risk-reducing interventions, the project MCI-BIOME aims to further our knowledge of the relationship between socioeconomic factors and changes in the gut microbiome in relation to MCI. The main objectives of this study are to identify specific microbiome signatures for MCI patients and to explore how microbiome characteristics differ between sub-groups defined by socioeconomic factors, e.g., education, psychological factors, e.g., perceived stress, and diet.

The project relies on a unique interdisciplinary collaboration composed of Professor Paul Wilmes (specialist in high-resolution microbiome characterization, Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine, University of Luxembourg), Professor Rejko Krüger (clinical expert in neurodegeneration, Centre Hospitalier Luxembourg, Luxembourg Institute of Health) and Professor Anja Leist (specialist in socioeconomic and psychological research, University of Luxembourg).

Contribution of microglial cell reprogramming in glioblastoma progression (LNS - NCP & LCNP)

Glioblastoma is the most aggressive and treatment-resistant of all primary brain tumors. It is one of the deadliest human cancer with a median survival rate of 14 months only, even when maximum treatment is applied. The poor prognosis of glioblastoma is associated with a change toward a tumor-promoting behavior of the primary brain's intrinsic immune cell, the microglia. There is more and more evidence that those changes in microglial behavior are related to epigenetic alterations, the finest level of communication between the environment and gene expression.

The aim of this project is to decode the epigenetic signature of glioblastoma-associated microglia with last generation methylation arrays. Understanding the mechanisms underlying the pro-tumoral behavior of the brain immune system could lead to new innovative treatment approaches and furthermore, ways to prevent or slow down the initiation of glioblastoma development in patients at risk to develop those tumors.

This research project will be conducted by Lorraine Richart and Professor Michel Mittelbronn within the Luxembourg Centre of Neuropathology research unit at the Laboratoire National de Santé (LNS) and the Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH).

Espoir en tête - a continuing success

The Rotary Clubs in Luxembourg are proud to have once again been able to contribute to research on brain diseases in Luxembourg. In 8 years, their project has already collected 376,000 euros in donations thanks to the Espoir en tête project. A new edition is already planned for 2021.


Make a donation to the Association Luxembourgeoise des OEuvres du Rotary with the mention "Espoir en tête" on the bank account IBAN LU94 0081 7737 4700 1003 (BLUXLULL). 

More information on www.espoir-en-tete.lu