Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB)

Address Biotech I (BT1):
University of Luxembourg
Campus Belval
7 avenue des Hauts-Fourneaux
L-4362 Esch-sur-Alzette

Biotech II (BT2)/main building:
University of Luxembourg
Campus Belval
6 avenue du Swing
L-4367 Belvaux
Platforms Biomarkers, Small Molecules

The LCSB is one of three interdisciplinary centres within the University of Luxembourg and was established in 2009 to accelerate biomedical research by closing the link between systems biology and medical research.

Its Vision is to:

  • understand the mechanisms of complex biological systems and disease processes
  • enable new ways to cure and prevent human disease

LCSB aims to generate a better understanding of diseases as complex systems through collaboration between a wide range of specialist including medical doctors, computer scientists, biologists, engineers and mathematicians. The LCSB develops and applies systems-level approaches to gain insight into the molecular and cellular mechanisms of human diseases with a focus on neurodegenerative diseases. Experimental and computational approaches are combined to analyse the complexity of biological systems underlying disease pathogenesis.

This is reflected in the research activities, platforms and services:

The LCSB is pioneering the way for predictive, preventive and personalised medicine. Neurodegenerative diseases, especially Parkinson’s disease are major targets within LCSB’s research activities. The Centre has established strategic partnerships with leading biomedical laboratories worldwide and with all major biological and medical research units in Luxembourg. The LCSB fosters collaboration with industrial partners and promotes the translation of fundamental research results into (clinical) applications to develop new diagnostic tools and therapies benefiting patients.

As such, the LCSB is hosting several ambitious projects in translational medicine:

NCER-PD is a joint research effort of the Centre Hospitalier de Luxembourg, Luxembourg Institute of Health, Integrated Biobank of Luxembourg and Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine of the University of Luxembourg to unite their clinical, biomedical, and computational expertise in Parkinson’s disease (PD). This research programme aims to find new ways for an earlier diagnosis and personalized treatment for Parkinson’s disease.

NCER-PD established a nation-wide and deep-phenotyped cohort of more than 1,600 participants from Luxembourg and the Greater Region, called the Luxembourg Parkinson’s Study. The study includes patients diagnosed with PD and other forms of parkinsonism and matching control subjects. This longitudinal cohort ranks amongst the 7% largest PD cohorts worldwide. Research physicians, psychologists, and study nurses routinely collect clinical and neuropsychological data, as well as biosamples such as blood, urine, stool, and saliva. These data and samples are then stored, curated, and integrated into state-of-the-art data and biobank facilities for processing within the NCER-PD programme and beyond. NCER-PD harvests the collected data and samples to explore new avenues of biomedical research aiming to translate findings into therapies for PD.

The PDP is a programme for effective dementia prevention in a target population within Luxembourg showing mild or subjective cognitive impairment. PDP wants to support affected people by showing them new ways to stay mentally fit. Recent scientific evidence demonstrates the opportunity to prevent dementia – or at least to delay it – by acting on risk factors that can be modified (such as diabetes, physical inactivity, hearing loss, social isolation, obesity, depression, hypertension and smoking). These risk factors represent 35% of all the risk factors for developing dementia. PDP identifies people with a high risk to develop dementia via neuropsychological assessments, establishes an individual risk factor profile, and recommends a personalized and tailor-made set of different actions to prevent or at least delay the underlying neurodegenerative and/or vascular process. National partners of the PDP offer a broad spectrum of support, such as dietary advice or specific mental training.

CON-VINCE (COvid-19 National survey for assessing VIral spread by Non-affected CarriErs) is a national project aiming to evaluate the dynamics of the spread of the COVID-19 disease within the Luxembourgish population.

CON-VINCE was launched in April 2020 as one of the several initiatives put in place under the aegis of the Research Luxembourg COVID-19 task force to help contain the current pandemic. By screening a statistically representative panel of volunteers for the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the study will identify asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic individuals and follow them up for a year.

Ultimately, the study aims to generate accurate data on the prevalence and transmission of the disease, assisting policy-makers in taking evidence-based decisions over the course of the coming weeks.

The “CON-VINCE” study is led by a consortium of Luxembourgish research institutions, including:

The study is supported by the market research company TNS-ILRES for the selection of participants and of the laboratories Ketterthill, Laboratoires Réunis, BioneXt Lab, as well as of LIH and LNS as associated partners for biospecimen collection.”

LCSB is furthermore hosting the national node of ELIXIR, the European infrastructure for life science information, which focuses on the long-term sustainability of tools and data for translational medicine.