Cure Alzheimer’s Fund recently announced that it has awarded over $6 million in research grants this year to support scientific projects working to improve our knowledge of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and to develop potential treatments.
In total in 2016, so far, the organization has funded 29 projects in the U.S. and elsewhere, including a study looking at the links between gender and Alzheimer’s ($151,000); a project looking at genes, brain activity and the pathology of Alzheimer’s ($150,000); a study examining the early role of microglia in synapse loss in Alzheimer’s ($150,000).
The first of these projects is led by Murali Doraiswamy, MD, of Duke University Medical Center, and will assess if women with mild cognitive impairment progress to Alzheimer’s at faster rates than men, using novel ‘big data’ computational methodologies.
The second is led by Karen Duff, PhD, of Columbia University/NYSPI and Tal Nuriel, PhD, of Columbia University Medical Center. It will measure brain activity-increasing genes and proteins to analyze how, if at all, they impact the disease’s pathology. People carrying the APOE4 gene are at significantly higher risks for developing Alzheimer’s.
The third study, led by Beth Stevens, PhD, of Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital, will analyze the relationship between brain immune cells (microglia) and synapses – the brain’s communication hubs.
In addition, Cure Alzheimer’s Fund research efforts whose findings were published this year in scientific journals, including an animal study, published in Scientific Reports, suggesting that long-term exposure to broad spectrum antibiotics reduced the levels of amyloid plaques, and triggered the development of inflammatory microglial cells in animal models’ brains; and a study, published in Science Translational Medicine, suggesting that Alzheimer’s arises when the brain perceives itself to be under attack from invading pathogens and launches amyloid formation.
“Every year, we see more exciting scientific breakthroughs in the fight to develop effective treatments to Alzheimer’s disease,” Tim Armour, president and chief executive officer of Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, said in a press release. “Cure Alzheimer’s Fund is pleased to provide critical early stage funding to some of the most promising research projects that help us comprehend and treat this destructive disease.”