About ADgut project


Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the leading cause of dementia in the Western world. Until today, there is neither cure nor any preventive strategy on the horizon for this devastating neurodegenerative disorder. Our recent results strongly support a microbial involvement in the development of AD and show how gut microbiome modulation can slow down or halt the onset of AD. This discovery represents a substantial paradigm shift for the etiology of AD. We will therefore target the gut and its microbiota in view of a novel diagnosis. The gut modulation initiated by the encapsulated probiotics will cause a delay of AD-onset, i.e. prevention and pave the way to a novel therapy for Alheimer’s disease.


This AD-gut project is sub-divided into three sub-projects aiming for:

Objective 1

Encapsulated probiotic cocktails, which bear the potential to deliver beneficial or modulatory bacteria straight into the gut and may alter the microbiota composition to delay the progression or possibly prevent AD.

Objective 2

Correlating in-vivo brain imaging of the extracellular Aβ-aggregates with 16S rRNA sequencing of fecal sample to reveal the curative impact of probiotic cocktails in longitudinal animal studies.

Objective 3

Characterizing the gut microbiota profile of the faecal samples with a high throughput DNA mapping approach, which serves as a diagnostic and optimization tool for monitoring the efficacy of the proposed therapeutic concept.

Objective 4

The „Go to business“ initiative integrates a multi-level approach and a timeliness with the technology readiness

Key facts

FULL TITLE Alzheimer Disease – gut connection
FUNDING SCHEME Innovation Action (IA)
PROGRAMME Horizon 2020
START DATE 01/04/2016
DURATION 48 months
PROJECT FUNDING € 5,09 M (grant amount)
THEME Biomaterials for treatment and a prevention of Alzheimer’s disease


The groundbreaking goal of this research project is to establish a novel therapeutic strategy or approach for the delay and ultimately a disease-modifying therapy for AD. A successful accomplishment of this project will allow the use of novel encapsulated probiotic cocktails for the prevention and therapy of AD, to derive AD risk factors and to establish an objective baseline setting for AD diagnosis. Based on a fast metagenomic reader concept, an opening of new horizons in biomedical diagnostics and personalized medicine through the marketing of these technologies and therapeutic concepts may become true.

Based on our preclinical results, we strongly believe that AD-gut will lay a novel foundation for:

  •  An improved assessment of AD risk,
  •  Bearing the potential of an AD screening and diagnosis test, and,
  •  Providing therapeutic options for AD patients.

The AD-gut project is conceived as a “window into the brain-gut connection” and perfectly matches the P4 MedicineTM paradigm. Therefore, it seeks to devise metagenomic-based diagnostics and probiotic encapsulation schemes aligned to the P4 MedicineTM objectives:

Predictive – the microbiome signature promises to be an early indicator for various diseases. This feature will be used to establish an AD-risk factor and an indicator for starting a preventive probiotic based treatment.

Preventive – If we fully exploit the microbiome signatures, early and differential diagnosis will become available and will enrich the medical instrumentation and therapies. This represents an untapped potential for innovative, non-invasive diagnosis and AD preventive treatments.

Personalized – The microbiome is as rich and as individual as the human genome. There will be no “one drug fits all” solution. Instead, a tight link between a quantitative assessment of the bacteria population and a personalized well-adapted probiotic treatment promises to lead to a beneficial outcome for the patients.

„Go to business“ initiative:

  • Encapsulation of probiotic cocktails will be prepared up to a readiness level for clinical testing in cooperation with European pharma or food industry.
  • The DNA-mapping concept will be translated into a start-up company at the latest two years after the launch of AD-gut. The Leuven and Lausanne teams have presently a broad patent portfolio ensuring a „Freedom of operation“ for initiating a start-up.
  • Ultimately, „Go to business“ is a core intention and will be regularly evaluated in close cooperation with industry or in view of an appropriate start-up launch.


We try hard.

Coming soon..


The following documents are public resources for communicating about the AD-gut project, learning more about the Horizon 2020 programme and identifying the related initiatives.

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This project has received funding from the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme of the European Union under grant agreement n° 686271.

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