NIH Funds 2 New Centers Joining Alzheimer’s Research Network

Yedida Y Bogachkov PhD avatar

by Yedida Y Bogachkov PhD |

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Research institutions in North Carolina and Texas have become the newest members of a national network of Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centers (ADRCs), which are at the forefront of research into Alzheimer’s and related dementias.

The ADRCs, a project funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), have “been at the heart of progress in Alzheimer’s and related dementias research in the U.S. for more than three decades,” Richard J. Hodes, MD, NIA director, said in a NIA press release.

“Funding these two new research hubs underscores our ongoing commitment to finding effective preventions and treatments for a diverse range of individuals at risk for and living with these diseases,” Hodes added.

The new ADRC research hubs are: the Duke/University of North Carolina Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and the South Texas Alzheimer’s Disease Center, bringing the total number of ADRCs to 33 nationwide, plus four exploratory centers.

The two new centers were each granted $14.8 million over five years to focus on risk factors for Alzheimer’s and related dementias, and ways to reduce the burden of these disorders particularly in Mexican-American Hispanics and Black/African-Americans. These groups are understudied, and yet among the fastest-growing older populations in the U.S., according to NIA.

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“Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centers bring together scientists and research participants with a wide range of research focus areas, within each center and across the network,” said Nina Silverberg, PhD, director of NIA’s ADRC program.

“These two new centers will be important contributors as we continue to build momentum toward new research approaches to treatment and prevention as well as caregiving strategies, and importantly, toward inclusion of a diverse group of research volunteers reflective of those most affected by the disease,” Silverberg added.

The Duke/University of North Carolina ADRC, in particular, will focus on detecting age-related changes that may impact disease progression for Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Additionally, it will also work on determining how factors that arise in early and midlife contribute to disparities across racial, ethnic, and geographic communities in terms of dementia.

In turn, the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley ADRC will use its geographic location in South Texas, where around five million Mexican-Americans live, to help create connections with the community and increase the diversity of data and biosamples available through the network.

This ADRC is expected to help advance science by sharing these resources more broadly across the national network, and to support multidisciplinary research to reduce the burden of Alzheimer’s and other dementias in Hispanics.