Neurological diseases are pathologies that affect the central (brain and
spinal cord) or peripheral nervous system. Thus, this term includes various
conditions, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, multiple sclerosis,
Aging populations will expose more and more patients to neurodegenerative pathologies.
Cardiovascular diseases include pathologies that affect the heart and blood vessels, such as atherosclerosis, heart arrhythmia, high blood pressure, myocardial infarction, heart failure and stroke. Today, research is advancing on all fronts to treat these conditions: markers for early detection, innovative treatments like new anticoagulants that prevent the formation of clots in the arteries and artificial hearts are among the many new successes in the field.
Infectious diseases are caused by the transmission of a pathogen, such as bacteria, viruses, parasites, prions and fungi. They therefore cover a broad spectrum of benign pathologies, such as colds and sore throats, but also very serious illnesses, such as AIDS, hepatitis, malaria and tuberculosis. While research has eradicated some of them through the development of specific vaccines and antibiotics, there is still a long way to go before all of these diseases have been addressed. Today, we are also witnessing an increase in antibiotic resistance, as well as the emergence of new viruses that are still unknown. Research continues in order to develop innovative treatments for these diseases.
A disease is designated as rare when it affects a small fraction of the population. In Europe, the threshold is set at less than one in 2,000 people. There are about 7,000 rare diseases, including cystic fibrosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, progeria and glass bone disease. Eighty percent of rare diseases are of genetic origin. Many of them are also so-called “orphan diseases,” diseases for which there is little or no treatment. Researchers are stepping up their efforts to better understand the causes of these diseases, as well as to develop new treatment methods.
In 2017, the Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale funded 414 new research projects for a total of €43.6 million for all diseases.