News

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

Moving Poem About Memory

We don't normally post poetry, but this caught our attention the other day, and we wanted to share it with you.

by Lawrence Raab

Ralph Waldo Emerson, toward the end
of his life, found the names
of familiar objects escaping him.
He wanted to say something about a window,
or a table, or a book on a table.

But the word wasn't there,
although other words could still suggest
the shape of what he meant.
Then someone, his wife perhaps,

would understand: "Yes, window! I'm sorry,
is there a draft?" He'd nod.
She'd rise. Once a friend dropped by
to visit, shook out his umbrella
in the hall, remarked upon the rain.

Later the word umbrella
vanished and became
the thing that strangers take away.

Paper, pen, table, book:
was it possible for a man to think
without them? To know
that he was thinking? We remember
that we forget
, he'd written once,
before he started to forget.

Three times he was told
that Longfellow had died.

Without the past, the present
lay around him like the sea.
Or like a ship, becalmed,
upon the sea.  He smiled

to think he was the captain then,
gazing off into whiteness,
waiting for the wind to rise.

A Friend's Umbrella "A Friend's Umbrella" by Lawrence Raab, from The History of Forgetting. c. the Penguin Group, 2009.

Our Research Approach

We fund research with the highest probability of slowing, stopping or reversing Alzheimer’s disease.

Our approach consists of two principals:

1. The research we fund is based on a 4-part roadmap:

(1) find all the genes that contribute to risk for the disease;

(2) figure out which ones contribute the most and offer the best prospects for   treatment;

(3) determine how these genes actually lead to increased risk;

(4) and find the drug therapies that can most safely and effectively disrupt this link.

In contrast to a scattershot approach, which spreads funding across a broad array of unrelated research in the hope of a breakthrough, we believe that following this 4-part roadmap is the best method for developing effective treatments and more quickly finding a cure.

For more information about our funded research, read our Roadmap to a Cure

2. We apply a venture capital approach and use best practices from the business world, including:

□    World class leaders: We support a carefully selected group of scientists and are managed by experienced boards and staff.

Research and funding decisions are guided by a Research Consortium, made up of seven leading Alzheimer's disease researchers and clinicians from major universities.

In some cases, the research is conducted by members of the Research Consortium. In others, it is conducted by researchers identified by the Consortium as having the best chance to make significant progress toward a cure.

The decisions of the Consortium are audited by a Scientific Advisory Board, which ensures that all funding is directed toward only the most promising research consistent with the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund roadmap.

□    Transparency to all parties: executed through our Quarterly and Annual Reports and with sharing of all research. Recent reports can be found here.

The Cure Alzheimer’s Fund is dedicated to making all funded research available to the scientific community and the public as soon as possible and at no charge.  Our goal is to cure this debilitating disease

– not to profit from our discoveries – so we will never attempt to commercialize any product or process resulting from our funding.

□    An entrepreneurial culture: We are lean and minimalize process. We encou

rage prudent risk taking for maximum investment.

We have no endowment and because all operating costs for the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund are covered by our Founders, every dollar donated is applied directly toward funding research.

Couple Works to End Alzheimer's Disease

Jake and Jackie - Fighting Alzheimer's Disease Our intern, Jake Perten, was featured in The Weston Town Crier this week for his work to raise awareness about Alzheimer's Disease! It's a pretty charming story about how he and his girlfriend, Jackie Greb, both ended up working toward the same cause...without even realizing it...

Life is full of coincidences, and no one knows this better than Jake Perten and Jackie Greb, two 19-year-old residents of Wayland and Weston, respectively, who recently celebrated their six-month anniversary as a couple. Despite the close proximity of their hometowns, the pair didn’t meet until their freshman year of college – at Washington University in St. Louis, of all places. However, the greater coincidence came this summer, when both landed internships at separate organizations. Perten, who has a background in marketing and a passion for philanthropy, began work as a marketing intern at the Wellesley-based nonprofit Cure Alzheimer’s Fund. He soon learned that Greb too was working to cure Alzheimer’s, acting as an assistant in a Massachusetts General Hospital Alzheimer’s research lab. But it eventually became clear their work was more than mildly related. While Perten spent his days raising awareness about Cure Alzheimer’s Fund on the Web, Greb immersed herself in examining certain genes to determine whether they might be associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Her research was financially supported by Cure Alzheimer’s Fund...

You can read the full story HERE. Way to go Jake!

Cure Alzheimer's Fund Closes 2008 with a Huge Win!

We set out three years ago to jumpstart progress toward a cure for Alzheimer’s disease and we are succeeding.

  • The Alzheimer’s Genome Project™ (AGP), targeting the full set of Alzheimer’s genetic risk factors, identified seventy new genes, a tremendous result and truly breakthrough research.New genes open extensive novel scientific avenues for better understanding the disease and development of effective therapies.
  • Publications announcing these results have begun and findings will continue to be announced in coming months.
  • Other funded work, such as the AlzGene tool which allows researchers around the world to share and analyze information, is driving progress forward in unprecedented ways.

The personal and economic impact of Alzheimer’s is enormous and the path to a cure is through research.

Major Milestone Achieved

When we first met with Dr. Rudy Tanzi to discuss Cure Alzheimer's Fund, we asked him two things:

  1. Can you recruit a group of first-class Alzheimer’s researchers to guide us in our investment in basic research into the causes of the disease?

  2. What is the most important first step we can take to truly make a difference?

Dr. Tanzi answered the first question by assembling the group of researchers known as the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund Research Consortium. They answered the second question thusly: find all the genes that contribute to risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Tanzi estimated that task would take about three years and about $3 million. He was right.

Update from the Board - December 2007

Dear Friends:

With the holidays approaching and the conclusion of 3 years of progress at Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, we are grateful for your support and excited about the challenges ahead.

The Progress. We are funding 17 research projects in 8 different outstanding research institutions across the nation. 

Letter from the Co-Founders, Fourth Quarter 2006

Hello Friends,

First, a hearty thank you to all of you who have supported us.  Your money has been put to good use.  The first operating year of Cure Alzheimer’s Fund has been most gratifying for the founders, donors, researchers --- all of us committed to doing what we can to end the scourge of Alzheimer’s disease in our lifetime.

CURING ALZHEIMER'S GENE BY GENE IT'S MY FUTURE!

Phyllis Rappaport
Phyllis Rappaport,
Founding Board Member

A Founding Board member of Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, Phyllis chairs the board of the Jerome Lyle Rappaport Charitable Foundation, and is a director of New Boston Fund, Inc., a real estate investment company with $1.5 billion assets under management.  Her diverse management career includes senior positions at a Fortune 50 technology company, and she has an extensive background in public and non-profit service.  She serves on college, hospital, museum, and public policy boards in Boston and Cambridge.

Perspective: A Letter from Henry McCance

Photo of Henry McCance
Henry McCance, Founding Board Member

Henry McCance is a Founding Board member of Cure Alzheimer’s Fund and Chairman of Greylock Partners, a leading venture capital firm with a distinguished and highly successful record of company building. His family situation brought him to this effort as his words describe here.

Venture! From the Chairman of the Board: Jeffrey Morby

To capitalize on this rare “science moment” as Rudy (Tanzi) calls it, we are committed to focused, disciplined funding of targeted research which we refer to as the Venture approach. All of our Founders have strong business backgrounds, and two of us are long-time venture capitalists. We have all made careers from betting on people who rose to excellence and on providing the best resources available to help them achieve their potential. That is the approach we are bringing to Cure Alzheimer’s Fund.