Funding the World's Most Import Research / Annual Report 2015

2015 Research Highlights: Your Support Helped Us Make a Major Impact in 2015


Cure Alzheimer’s Fund provides grants to support high-potential research that continues to gain momentum and break new ground in the field. And we know that our model is working. 

2015 was a significant milestone year for our organization. We distributed more than $10 million to 44 of the most innovative and exciting Alzheimer’s research projects in the world (see pages 18–19 for a complete list of our 2015 research projects). This $10 million—a direct result of your support and dedication to helping us prevent, slow or reverse this fatal disease—is nearly double what we were able to distribute to research in 2014.

Rudy Tanzi and Doo Yeon Kim’s Alzheimer’s in a Dish study, which replicates human brain cells in a petri dish for use in Alzheimer’s research, is one of the biggest breakthroughs recently funded by Cure Alzheimer’s Fund. The project has gained recognition by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the medical and research communities, news media and others for this ground-breaking discovery that continues to propel forward our understanding of the disease. In 2015, Smithsonian Magazine recognized Tanzi and Kim by bestowing its prestigious American Ingenuity Award upon the scientists for their work on this project and their revolutionary breakthroughs in science. 

Cure Alzheimer’s Fund provided grants to a landmark number of other innovative, high-potential research projects throughout 2015, spanning almost all of our nine focus areas. From Alexandra Newton’s research on cancer and Alzheimer’s to Berislav Zlokovic’s new insights into the blood-brain barrier to Rob Moir’s work on the innate immune system—and more—CAF-funded research made great strides and tremendous impact in the Alzheimer’s field this year.   

More than 200 people gathered in Boston at our fifth annual Research Symposium in mid-October, and another 500 tuned in online, to hear about the impact and excitement that our research projects are generating in the field and beyond. The event highlighted our growing understanding of the Alzheimer’s disease process from our nine areas of focus as well as the research, collaboration and breakthroughs of the past year. 

Congress and the President continue to support the need for legislation to improve the process of finding cures for life-threatening diseases like Alzheimer’s. In July, the House of Representatives passed the 21st Century Cures Act, which calls for increased investment in NIH with a focus on innovation, speed, safety and commitment to improving the lives of people suffering from deadly diseases. Cure Alzheimer’s Fund worked closely with both Republicans and Democrats throughout the legislative process to improve the bill. And at the end of the year, Congress and the president approved an additional $350 million in NIH funding for Alzheimer’s disease research in FY16. We still have a long way to go to get to the $2 billion a year in research funding necessary to meet the goals outlined in the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease, but this commitment by Congress and President Obama is a significant step toward reaching that goal. 

Cure Alzheimer’s Fund finances and supports the scientists doing the most innovative work on Alzheimer’s pathology—high-potential research that also carries some risk, as it still might be in the “proof of concept” stage. This “pump priming” is proving increasingly successful, as more of our grants are leveraged into more substantial and longer-term funding by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and others. 

Since we began in 2004, our investment of more than $38,000,000 has resulted in more than $59,000,000 in NIH and other foundation grants, for a total of more than $97,000,000 going to Alzheimer’s disease research.

2015 federal grant recipients include:

  • Gal Bitan, Ph.D.
  • Guojun Bu, Ph.D.
  • Marco Colonna, M.D.
  • Caleb Finch, Ph.D.
  • Charles Glabe, Ph.D.
  • Ana Griciuc, Ph.D.
  • David Holtzman, M.D.
  • Robert Malenka, M.D., Ph.D.
  • Rudy Tanzi, Ph.D.
  • Giuseppina Tesco, M.D., Ph.D.
  • Gopal Thinakaran, Ph.D.
  • Robert Vassar, Ph.D.
  • Steven Wagner, Ph.D.
  • Benjamin Wolozin, M.D., Ph.D.
  • Zhongcong Xie, M.D., Ph.D.
  • Berislav Zlokovic, M.D., Ph.D.

We thank all of the researchers and lab personnel for their dedication and commitment to the common mission of ending this disease, and we congratulate them on the important insights their published work reflects.  

We are inspired by the progress and milestones achieved in 2015 and remain dedicated to making possible the most impactful research advancements to stop Alzheimer’s disease before it even starts.