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Pharmacology and Toxicology of the Blood-Brain Barrier: State of the Art, Needs for Future Research and Expected Benefits for the EU

Location Brussels, Belgium
Date 11 - 12 February 2010
Calendar file .vcs  .ics

Despite recent advances, the treatment of brain diseases and neurological disorders, such as the Parkinson and Alzheimer syndromes, schizophrenia, many forms of epilepsy, chronic pain and migraine, remains a major challenge.

When the brain fails, not only the patient but also its family and the society are afflicted due to problems in communication, interaction and interpersonal relations.The prevalence of CNS disorders in European populations is exhibiting a steady rise, most likely as a consequence of therapeutic success in other areas of medicine and of population ageing. In addition, there is continuing concern that environmental chemicals are contributing to the burden of CNS disorders. However, methods are not available to enable attribution.

It has become increasingly evident that the blood-brain barrier (BBB) plays a major role in the normal function of the brain as well as in the pathology of brain disorders. There have been a number of recent activities in relevant areas within COST and elsewhere in Europe, as well as in other regions. Hence, it is timely to organize a meeting to review progress, to consider research needs and to propose to the European Community a strategy for future research in the area, building upon the achievements of these other activities.

The workshop brought together representatives of currently active COST Actions dealing with relevant aspects of brain and BBB research (B30, B35, BM0601, BM0603, D34) and members of the recently concluded Action B25. Several non-COST experts in the areas of BBB and brain disorders were invited to this Exploratory Workshop in order to provide a broad scope for the workshop and reach its goals, as detailed below.

Aims and goals of the workshop

The aims and goals of this workshop, funded by COST, were as follows:

  • Present the State of the Art on the function of the BBB in regulating the access of drugs and toxicants to the brain, and its role in the pathology of CNS disorders (neurodegenerative diseases, infection and malignancies).
  • Define the factors influencing the access of drugs and toxicants to the brain and their effects in the CNS.
  • Delineate a sound strategy for developing better and safer measures for the prevention and treatment of such diseases by modulating the BBB function.
  • Stimulate collaborative research (basic and applied) which will reduce morbidity and mortality, as well as the life-long inabilities caused by brain disorders.

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Chaired by

Jaime Kapitulnik
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, IL

Steering Committee

Alan R Boobis
Imperial College London, UK

Ursula Gundert-Remy
Institute for Risk Assessment, Berlin, DE

Margareta Hammarlund-Udenaes
Uppsala University, SE

Momir Mikov
Medical Faculty, Novi Sad, RS

Olavi Pelkonen
University of Oulu, FI

Neven Zarkovic
Rudjer Boskovic Institute, Zagreb, HR

Contact Information

Dr Kalliopi Kostelidou
Science Officer
COST Office
Avenue Louise 149
B-1050 Brussels
Tel. +32 2 533 3816


COST Office

Avenue Louise 149
15th Floor
B-1050 Brussels
Tel: +32 2 533 3800

Website of venue