National Platforms

The CCNA has established eight National Platforms to facilitate research and create opportunities for collaboration by pooling and drawing on big data.

Platform 1: The Clinical Cohort

The Comprehensive Assessment on Neurodegeneration (COMPASS-ND) study is a pan-Canadian set of cohorts made up of subjects with various cognitive conditions. From these cohorts, researchers will collect clinical and behavioural data, biospecimens, images, genetics, and brain donations to support the research of CCNA’s teams and address the large-scale causes, treatment, and prevention of neurodegenerative diseases.

The study is aiming to recruit 1650 participants. Click here to learn more.

Platform 2: The Normative Comparison Groups

In addition to comparing between individuals with different types of dementia or cognitive decline, we also want to compare individuals with dementia with healthy, cognitively intact individuals. Towards this end, we will be collecting a cohort of 650 healthy elderly individuals without cognitive complaints to act as a healthy elderly control comparison group. Two hundred individuals will have the full COMPASS-ND assessment, while 450 will have just the screening, clinical, and neuropsychological elements of COMPASS-ND, foregoing the MRI and biosample collection. This will provide important information on the range of intact performance and scores on the COMPASS-ND tests.


Platform 3: Imaging, Database & Information Technology

3A: LORIS is a web-based data management system that houses images, clinical and behavioural data, genetics, and bio-banking information. The CCNA is using it to store, process, and disseminate information about all aspects of the consortium, particularly Platform 1: Clinical Cohorts.

3B: The Neuroimaging Network will be streamlining and standardizing the collection and analysis of all MRI images from Platform 1: Clinical Cohorts.

Platform 4: Biospecimens

Provides the necessary infrastructure to collect, store, and analyze the various biosamples collected from the participants of Platform 1: Clinical Cohorts. This includes creating and implementing standard operating procedures for sample collection of blood, saliva, CSF, urine, and feces, in addition to handling, processing, shipping, and storage of samples.

Platform 5: Genetic Samples/DNA Sequencing and Genotyping

Draws on the data from Platform 1: Clinical Cohorts to compare risk factors (across-diseases) and screen for mutations. Genotyping information will be housed on LORIS, along with data on clinical diagnoses and deep phenotyping information, including: (1) clinical and neuropsychological features, (2) neuroimaging, (3) biomarkers, and (4) neuropathology with results from autopsied brain tissue.

Platform 6: Brain Banking

Developing national standards for acquiring, handling, and distributing human brain tissues. It also aims to assemble six nationally-coordinated brain banks for neurodegenerative diseases, and establish a national brain donation program for those enrolled in the CCNA’s Clinical Cohort study (Platform 1).

Platform 7: Support for Transgenic Colonies

The purpose of this platform is to support the existence and maintenance of mouse and rat transgenic colonies in laboratories across Canada that are dedicated to the study of neurodegenerative diseases. This would ensure that studies continue uninterrupted, and that Canadian researchers continue to make steady contributions in the basic research of neurodegenerative disorders.

This platform is not yet operational.

Platform 8: Academic Clinical Trials & Drug Development

Aims to develop an integrated National Platform for therapeutic drug development that will improve preclinical and clinical development phases for Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases.