News

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

Running 4 Answers

By Carolyn Mastrangelo

The saddest part is that my story isn’t unique. Many who read this will have similar ones to tell. Noticing that my mom wasn’t quite right was a scary revelation. Realizing that it was happening at the age of 55 was terrifying. She is a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend -- roles that she taught me how to do well. She was an avid reader and trivia buff. She was a registered nurse at a nursing home for 22 years, a job she enjoyed tremendously. She has lived in one now for 5 years. She is almost 66 years old.

Having lost my mother-in-law to breast cancer, I knew there were many ways to donate -- many ways to DO SOMETHING. As a runner, I found races that support breast cancer research. I looked for races to support my mom, but, for a disease that affects 35 million and continues to afflict another American every 70 seconds, I was shocked to find not one race benefitting Alzheimer’s.

The disease is devastating to watch; however there was nothing to do but watch.

As a personal trainer, I believe in change -- that things can be different than they are now. I decided to change the lack of races. I reached out to my friend and fellow fitness enthusiast, Barbara Geiger, and asked if she would be interested in helping me put something together. A race was born.

The name of the race started with Melissa Etheridge’s song in reference to breast cancer, “I Run For Life.” A song I love, we looked at the lyrics to spark some ideas and found the line, “running for answers.” The second we read that line, we knew we had found a name for our race.

We lack answers. They are lacking in the research and they are lacking in our daily lives. How often did I hope that the answer to the question, “Mom, do you know who I am?” would produce the right answer -- or even an answer.

Cure Alzheimer’s Fund is exactly the type of organization I was looking for. Their singular focus on research is what we need.

This experience is exciting. Daunting. Beyond rewarding. I’m not just watching my mom in a nursing home. We are doing something. It alone will not solve the problem, but it is a step in the right direction.

This race offers the opportunity for YOU to do something, too. Run. Walk. Donate. Sponsor.

Join us.

Carolyn is one of the race organizers of "Running 4 Answers," a 4-mile race and 1.5-mile walk to benefit Cure Alzheimer's Fund. For more information on "Running 4 Answers," visit http://www.running4answers.org

Martha Stewart on the “Silver Tsunami”

Martha Stewart believes our nation is ill-equipped for the “silver tsunami” that is quickly approaching -- and we agree with her.

Stewart recently posted her views on the popular blog, The Huffington Post, calling the nation’s rise in the number of elderly citizens, America’s “other health crisis.”

Life expectancy rates in this country are at an all-time high and with advanced age comes the increased threat of Alzheimer’s. This disease will affect 115 million of our loved ones, family members and friends by 2050, but, if we fail to find a cure, the cost of treatment and care for Alzheimer's patients will be $2 trillion, potentially bankrupting the entire health care system.

We have a tremendous opportunity to end Alzheimer’s disease by 2020, so that our sons and daughters never face the tragic prospect of losing a lifetime of memories.

Stand with us and urge Congress to support increased funding for Alzheimer’s:
TELL CONGRESS: DON'T FORGET ALZHEIMER'S

We can all agree that Martha Stewart’s blog post touches on an increasingly important aspect of health care reform that we, as a nation, have not appropriately addressed. Just as Martha concludes her piece:

We're all in this together. Whether or not you care about older people, you will, if you're lucky, be one of them. It's not just a demographic. It's personal -- it's you, your parents, your aunts, uncles, friends and children. We need to do a better job caring for this population -- and supporting those who care for them.

Click here to read the article in its entirety:

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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