Bluefield Project to Cure Frontotemporal Dementia Gets $1.2M to Advance FTD Blood Testing

Bluefield Project to Cure Frontotemporal Dementia Gets $1.2M to Advance FTD Blood Testing
The Bluefield Project to Cure FTD will receive $1.2 million from the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) to validate an exploratory blood test in frontotemporal dementia (FTD). The award is the first FTD investment through the foundation's Diagnostics Accelerator, a venture philanthropy vehicle to advance the development of diagnostics and novel biomarkers for early detection of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. FTD is the most common form of dementia for individuals under 60. Launched last July with seed money from philanthropist Bill Gates and others, the $50-million Diagnostic Accelerator will invest up to $5 million in efforts to develop biomarkers — measurable indicators of the severity or presence of disease — for FTD. The initiative announced its FTD focus in partnership with the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration (AFTD) in January. The nonprofit Bluefield project seeks to translate FTD investigations into the development of therapies that target disease caused by GRN gene mutations. This gene provides instructions for making a protein called granulin (also known as progranulin), present in many different tissues in the body where it helps control cell growth, division, and survival. GRN-related FTD is characterized by behavioral changes, and sometimes speech and language problems. There are currently no treatments that modify the disease. Biomarkers are essential to treatment development. The few biomarkers currently available are measured by tests in cerebral spinal fluid (CSF, the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord) and neuroimaging scans. Such examinations are invasive and relatively expensive, and aren’t standard in general practice. Blood-based biomarkers, the focus of the Bluefield project, w
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