News

Find updates on the work of our researchers here, as well as news about recent advances in Alzheimer's science, funding and awareness.

A Better Way to Look for Diseases’ Genetic Roots

If you haven’t checked out Nicholas Wade’s piece in today’s New York Times, you should. The prominent science writer has taken on the traditional method of gene hunting, claiming there may be a new, arguably more successful, way to look for diseases’ genetic roots -- the very research strategy conducted by the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund since our inception in 2004.

Having developed increasingly sophisticated approaches to Genome Wide Association Screens (GWAS) Cure Alzheimer’s Fund supported researchers have been arguing that the common method of gene hunting is flawed or at least insufficient -- that it is the common variants that may actually be pointing to the rare mutations responsible for diseases such as Alzheimer’s. It’s this research focus that has allowed us to develop our roadmap to a cure, something that has made us truly unique among other research organizations. A key paper on this topic titled, "Genome-wide association studies in Alzheimer’s disease" was published recently in the journal Human Molecular Genetics by Cure Alzheimer’s Fund supported researchers Lars Bertram and Rudy Tanzi.

Wade’s piece references Dr. David B. Goldstein, a Duke geneticist who believes that genome-wide association studies may have taken significant time and resources, but were vital to providing the science community with “next steps.”

Goldstein, like our very own Rudy Tanzi, believes that finding even a few rare variants could point to genes that make potential targets for drug makers, accelerating the developments of effective therapies.

It appears where the traditional method of gene hunting has failed to identify the right genes, the rare variants just might.

Click on the link below to read the full article:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/26/science/26gene.html

CBS Poll: Nearly 50% of Americans Concerned about Alzheimer’s

According to a recent CBS poll, nearly half of Americans are concerned they will one day suffer from Alzheimer’s disease -- a fear that will only continue to grow until we find a cure for this devastating disease.

As the baby boomers reach the age of retirement, we are seeing a rapid increase in Alzheimer’s. Over 5 million Americans currently suffer from this disease and that number is expected to rise to as many as 16 million by 2050.

But there is hope. The CBS poll claims that 54% of Americans expect a cure to be found in their lifetime and we know they’re right -- we can find a cure in the next 10 years.

By following our roadmap to a cure, we have continually funded research with the highest probability of slowing, stopping or reversing Alzheimer’s and 2010 will be no exception. In the coming months, our research consortium will explore some of the most critical questions that remain in Alzheimer’s pathology, embarking upon an aggressive research agenda that truly makes us unique.

Stay tuned this year as we continue to update you on all the exciting developments happening at Cure Alzheimer’s Fund!

Check out the CBS poll to learn more:

href="http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2010/01/12/politics/politicalhotsheet/entry6088901.shtml">http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2010/01/12/politics/politicalhotsheet/entry6088901.shtml

Support Cure Alzheimer’s Fund in the Inaugural “Running 4 Answers” 4-Mile Race!

For far too many of us, Alzheimer’s is a cause that is deeply personal. One such woman is Carolyn Mastrangelo.

Carolyn’s mother has suffered from early onset Alzheimer’s for over 10 years. A personal trainer and avid runner, Carolyn wanted to incorporate her love of running and apply it to raising funds and awareness of this devastating disease. To do just that, she joined forces with her friend and fellow runner, Barbara Geiger, to create the inaugural “Running 4 Answers” 4-mile run to benefit Cure Alzheimer’s Fund!

Carolyn and Barbara picked the title “Running 4 Answers” because they understand all too well the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s and the growing need for answers. Every 70 seconds another American gets Alzheimer’s disease -- that’s 35 million people worldwide! We must find a cure, and soon.

Events like “Running 4 Answers” go a long way in helping us spread awareness and reach our goal of curing Alzheimer’s in the next 10 years! Thank you, Carolyn and Barbara!

Join us on April 10th as we participate in the “Running 4 Answers” race through beautiful Roseland and Essex Fells, NJ. If you would like to be a race sponsor, make a donation, become a volunteer or run in the inaugural race, visit www.running4answers.org!

 

Study Sheds More Light on Abeta’s Impact on Alzheimer's -- Research Funded in Part by Cure Alzheimer’s Fund

A new study, funded in part by Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, is shedding more light on amyloid beta’s (Aβ) impact on Alzheimer’s disease.

If you regularly read our blog, you know that studies suggest that Aβ contributes to the early stages of Alzheimer’s (Aβ plays a key role in early synaptic failure which is commonly associated with memory dysfunction), but very little is known about Aβ's effect on the plasticity of dendritic spines.

 

The plasticity of dendritic spines is important because these spines provide memory storage and transmit signals across the brain, actions which require the ability to change and grow.

 

The study, led by Cure Alzheimer’s own Dr. Robert Malinow, found that Aβ affects structural and functional plasticity -- preventing synapses from growing bigger and stronger. In fact, if Aβ is over-produced, its destructive effects can affect thousands and thousands of synapses.

 

Malinow and his team discovered that a continuous release of Aβ is needed to prevent plasticity so even a short period of time without Aβ secretion is enough to allow plasticity to occur -- a positive sign if scientists learn how to stop the secretion of Aβ at synaptic sites.

 

Want to learn more about this study? Check out Science Daily for additional details:

 

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091228152352.htm

 

Study Sheds More Light on Abeta's Impact on Alzheimer's -- Research Funded in Part by Cure Alzheimer’s Fund

A new study, funded in part by Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, is shedding more light on amyloid beta’s (Aβ) impact on Alzheimer’s disease.

If you regularly read our blog, you know that studies suggest that Aβ contributes to the early stages of Alzheimer’s (Aβ plays a key role in early synaptic failure which is commonly associated with memory dysfunction), but very little is known about Aβ's effect on the plasticity of dendritic spines.

 

The plasticity of dendritic spines is important because these spines provide memory storage and transmit signals across the brain, actions which require the ability to change and grow.

 

The study, led by Cure Alzheimer’s own Dr. Robert Malinow, found that Aβ affects structural and functional plasticity -- preventing synapses from growing bigger and stronger. In fact, if Aβ is over-produced, its destructive effects can affect thousands and thousands of synapses.

 

Malinow and his team discovered that a continuous release of Aβ is needed to prevent plasticity so even a short period of time without Aβ secretion is enough to allow plasticity to occur -- a positive sign if scientists learn how to stop the secretion of Aβ at synaptic sites.

 

Want to learn more about this study? Check out Science Daily for additional details:

 

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091228152352.htm

 

Update from the Board: December 2009

Dear Friends,

Why should you care about Alzheimer’s research?

Currently, for every dollar spent on Alzheimer’s care, only a penny is spent working toward a cure. This is a bad equation for a disease that is estimated will cost well more than $100 billion in care (Medicare and Medicaid alone) in 2009.

 

Federal Funding to Support Cure Alzheimer’s Fund in 2010!

Earlier this week, President Obama signed a bill into law that includes $150,000 in federal funding to support our search for a cure!

Submitted as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2010 by Sens. John Kerry and Paul Kirk, and Rep. Ed Markey, the funding will support the Alzheimer’s Genome Project and provide state-of-the-art equipment for research.

 

Tim Armour, President and CEO of Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, expressed his gratitude saying:

 

We thank Senators Kerry and Kirk, and the late Senator Kennedy and Congressman Markey for their efforts to acknowledge our work to make Alzheimer’s a distant memory. Our goal is to find a cure within 10 years, and our research programs are the key to discovery. This federal funding shows our government is paying attention and dedicated to fighting this debilitating disease.

 

5.2 million Americans currently battle Alzheimer’s, but with a national commitment to cure this disease, we can get there in 10 years. We can stop this disease in its tracks.

 

To learn more about what we are doing to find the cure, check out our roadmap to a cure: www.curealzfund.org/roadmap

 

New Published Study Shows Russian Antihistamine Has Surprising Effects on the Amyloid Peptide: Cure Alzheimer's Fund Researcher Spearheading Research

Boston—A new study published in Molecular Neurodegeneration unexpectedly showed that a retired Russian hay fever drug, Dimebon, which has shown promise in improving and stabilizing cognition in Alzheimer’s disease, has the surprising effect of increasing the levels of beta amyloid peptide, a molecule that is tied to the development of Alzheimer’s. Previous work aimed at treating or preventing the devastating disease has focused on lowering levels of beta amyloid peptide.

Funded by Cure Alzheimer's Fund, the new studies on Dimebon, which is produced by Medivation, Inc., and now owned by Pfizer, Inc., were first announced on July 15 at the Alzheimer's Association 2009 International Convention on Alzheimer's Disease (ICAD 2009) in Vienna, Austria by Dr. Sam Gandy, Mount Sinai Professor in Alzheimer’s Disease Research at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York NY and a member of the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund research consortium.

John Cirrito PhD, and David M. Holtzman, MD, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Neurology at Washington University in St Louis, St Louis, MO, joined Dr. Gandy in his research. Dr Holtzman is also a member of the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund research consortium.

The idea to study Dimebon and beta amyloid peptide arose from a clinical trial conducted in Russia that showed promising clinical benefits. The newly published experiments involved mice that carry human Alzheimer’s genes and develop brain protein structures that demonstrate the same characteristics as human Alzheimer's.

“This was quite an unexpected result, and there is still a lot of research to be done on Dimebon. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a different result in chronic dosing with the drug. But I am amazed to see such promise from a drug that origin

ally had nothing to do with Alzheimer’s,” Gandy said. “Bachurin and Hung (of Medivation) and their academic colleagues have shone a light on something that might help us to better understand this devastating disease and how to combat it.”

Since 1986, genetic evidence, largely the work of Rudolph Tanzi, PhD, Professor of Neurology and Genetics at Massachusetts General Hospital and Director of the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund Genetic Initiative, has linked every AD mutation to enhancement of beta amyloid buildup. Dr. Gandy’s research took a new approach to fighting that buildup, and, Gandy says, “The Dimebon story, however unexpected, does nothing to diminish the profound importance of amyloid in Alzheimer’s genetics.”

“Dr. Gandy’s work is remarkable, and we are lucky to have him as an ally in our battle against Alzheimer’s disease,” said Tim Armour, President and CEO of Cure Alzheimer’s Fund.

About Cure Alzheimer's Fund

Cure Alzheimer's Fund™ is a 501c3 public charity whose mission is to fund research with the highest probability of slowing, stopping or reversing Alzheimer's disease. Cure Alzheimer’s Fund is characterized by a venture approach to philanthropy, which targets funding to specific research objectives. All expenses and overhead is paid for by its founders and all contributions go directly to research. The Foundation has no financial or intellectual property interest in the research funded, and will make known the results of all funded research as soon as possible. Cure Alzheimer’s Fund is a national organization with offices in Boston and Pittsburgh. For more information, visit www.curealzfund.org.

 

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Happy Holidays!

During this holiday season, we would like to say thank you for everything you have done this year to help us in our search for a cure. As you know, our ability to fight this disease comes from each and every one of you!

We are the only organization with a clear roadmap to a cure – and we are working harder than ever to cure this terrible disease right now, not years from now.

That’s why this holiday season, we launched our year-end fundraising drive -- $30,000 in 30 days in first-time donors -- and your response has been remarkable. It’s because of people like you that we are able to fund the research that will ultimately cure this disease – but there is so much more we can do!

This holiday season, please consider making a contribution to the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund – there is no better gift than saving lives.

http://www.curealzfund.org/donate/30-000-in-30-days-to-cure-alzheimers-2

What we are trying to accomplish together is nothing short of amazing – a cure for Alzheimer’s now.

And, it is within our sight.

We have the roadmap to get there, now we need your help to fund it.

We hope you will consider making a contribution to our fight against this disease, and together, we will prevent the next generation from ever having to fear a future with Alzheimer’s.

Wishing you and your family a joyous holiday,

Tim Armour

President and CEO, Cure Alzheimer’s Fund

 

Cure Alzheimer’s Fund Receives Federal Funding to Support Promising Research on Genetic Causes, Cure for Disease

Washington, December 17, 2009 — President Obama this week signed a bill into law that includes funding to support the Boston-based Cure Alzheimer’s Fund’s efforts to find cure for Alzheimer’s disease.

Submitted as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2010 by Sens. John Kerry and Paul Kirk, and Rep. Ed Markey, Cure Alzheimer’s Fund was recognized for its work in the field of Alzheimer’s disease research and granted $150,000 in federal funding for state-of-the-art equipment for research.

 

“We thank Senators Kerry and Kirk, and the late Senator Kennedy and Congressman Markey for their efforts to acknowledge our work to make Alzheimer’s a distant memory,” said Tim Armour, president and CEO of Cure Alzheimer’s Fund. “Our goal is to find a cure within 10 years, and our research programs are the key to discovery. This federal funding shows our government is paying attention and dedicated to fighting this debilitating disease.”

 

The funding will support the “Alzheimer’s Genome Project” (AGP), part of the ambitious national research strategy set forth by Cure Alzheimer’s Fund to identify the causes and better understand the disease. Time Magazine/CNN saluted AGP as a “Top Ten Medical Breakthrough of 2008.”  Approximately 5.2 million Americans currently battle Alzheimer’s and the clock is ticking as the Baby Boomer generation approaches the at-risk age group.

 

Cure Alzheimer’s Fund™ is a 501c3 public charity established to fund targeted research with the highest probability of slowing, stopping or reversing Alzheimer’s disease.  For more information, please visit http://www.curealzfund.org.