Desperate For a Cure: The Search for New Alzheimer's Treatments

Posted: Oct. 4, 2013

"Desperate For A Cure: The Search For New Alzheimer's Treatments", a new five-part series by NPR's Sean Corcoran, aired this week on WCAI and will air again next week on WGBH in Boston.

In each segment, Corcoran discusses current research towards understanding and curing Alzheimer's disease. Among those interviewed are several members of Cure Alzheimer's Fund's Research Consortium, including Robert Moir, Ph.D., Rudy Tanzi, Ph.D, and Steve Wagner, Ph.D. Topics covered range from methods of clearing toxic amyloid beta from the brain to brain scans and challenges regarding upcoming drug trials.

One constant theme throughout the program is the struggle to find funding for Alzheimer's disease research. "We are not knowledge-constrained; we're budget constrained," says Dr. Rudy Tanzi. He explains that while current drugs in development are promising, pharmaceutical companies are "frustrated now with the failures of the past". The fact that older drugs were not successful in treating AD is making it difficult for new, better drugs to get funded.

But Corcoran stresses that we don't have time to be so hesitant about new potential therapies. With forecasts of 16 million AD sufferers by 2050, effective treatments are needed more than ever.

Luckily, some researchers are having success with receiving funding from the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Steve Wagner, whose drug development program was boosted by Cure Alzheimer's Fund back in 2009, is now receiving a 5-year, $1 million-dollar grant from NIH.

If you'd like to learn more about the exciting research Wagner and others are doing, you can now listen to or read all five segments of "Desperate For A Cure" on WCAI's website.