Banner Institute Granted $10 Million For Alzheimer’s Trial

Ana de Barros, PhD avatar

by Ana de Barros, PhD |

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Phoenix-based Banner Alzheimer’s Institute (BAI) was recently awarded a joint $10 million research funding grant from the Alzheimer’s Association, GHR Foundation and Fidelity Biosciences Research Initiative. The three organizations announced their plan to fund BAI’s efforts, given the organization’s reputation as an internationally recognized Alzheimer’s care and research center.

The new funding will support an Alzheimer’s disease prevention clinical trial being conducted at BAI, as well as a contribution toward a $40 million fundraising goal established by the institute to advance its current and future investigations. BAI’s current study is focused on understanding the treatments that can prevent or delay the onset of the disease symptoms and will be initiated later this year.

“We are extremely grateful to these three organizations for their extraordinary support,” stated the executive director of BAI, Eric Reiman, MD. “These funds will not only help make it possible to evaluate two promising Alzheimer’s prevention therapies, but to do so in a way that will help the field find treatments that work as soon as possible.”

The five-year grant will be invested in expanding the Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative (API) APOE4 trial, which was designed and launched four years ago to develop therapies to address the period prior to the onset of the Alzheimer’s symptoms. The study is focused on therapies targeting amyloid proteins in the brain and its capacity to prevent or delay the emergence of the disease, particularly in patients with high genetic risk.

The researchers at the institute will test two potential Alzheimer’s treatments to understand if either of them can prevent the development of the disease. One of the therapies is an active immunotherapy expected to trigger the body’s immune system and produce antibodies able to block the amyloid protein, while the other is a drug to prevent amyloid protein production.

The study is planned to include approximately 1,300 research participants and will be initiated by the end of the year or in the beginning of 2016 in both North America and Europe, once regulatory approval is approved. Last August, the institute announced that it had enrolled 40,000 volunteers to take part in the study, which only requires participants to be older than 18 years and active advocates for fighting the disease.

The Banner Alzheimer’s Foundation launched in 2012 The BAI Breakthrough Campaign, meant to raise $40 million and advance the organization’s work to reduce the burden of the devastating disease, as well as enhance their efforts to help patients and loved ones within the Stead Family Memory Clinic, located at BAI. The new funding, as well as other philanthropic support from individuals, foundations and businesses, put the campaign at just $900,000 from its goal.

“The substantial amount of support from people in our community as well as throughout the country has been key to helping us continue to move forward,” said Reiman. “We encourage caregivers, philanthropists and interested community members to learn more about Alzheimer’s disease and help us in making a breakthrough.”

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has also granted an initial commitment of $33.2 million in partial support for the API APOE4 trial in 2013, while the Banner Alzheimer’s Foundation was able to raise an additional $5 million.