News

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

Rockstars of Science Hit Capitol Hill

Over the summer, we told you about an exciting honor for one of our lead researchers, Dr. Rudy Tanzi. Along with other leading scientists including NIH Director Francis Collins, Dr. Tanzi was named as one of GQ Magazine's "Rockstars of Science".

Rockstars_of_Science_GQ

What is a "Rockstar of Science", you might ask? They're the doctors and researchers who are accelerating treatments and cures "from research bench to bedside". GQ brought together a star-studded list of musicians (like Aerosmith's Joe Perry, will.i.am, and Sheryl Crow) and scientists (like Dr. Tanzi, Sam Gandy, and Francis Collins) for a fun and impactful photo shoot and feature story.

And, next week, Dr. Tanzi, Director Collins, and Joe Perry of Aerosmith are taking the "Rockstars of Science" campaign to Capitol Hill to talk about the importance of research funding for curing diseases like Alzheimer's. And they are going to play!

If you're in the DC area, don't miss this great event! If not, check back here next week for video and highlights.

Rock Stars of Science: September 24
11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. ∙ Capitol Visitors Center Auditorium
Special Appearance: Aerosmith’s Joe Perry Tribute to Congressional Champions of Research
Moderated by: Terry Moran of ABC News’ Nightline

For more information, click here.

To RSVP for this free event, click here.

 

European Consortium proposes three new genes!

by Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D.

Two new genome studies from Europe have proposed three additional genes that may influence risk for Alzheimer's disease (AD). The gene findings are the result of a large consortium study conducted in Europe and add further support to the role of beta-amyloid in AD. While the three new genes exert only minor effects on AD risk (decreasing or increasing risk by only 15-20%), they should be helpful when combined with the roughly 100 genes previously identified in the Cure Alzheimer's Fund Alzheimer's Genome Project (AGP) for furthering our understanding of this disease. The new genes as well as the dozens of others identified over the past two decades are summarized on Cure Alzheimer's Fund-supported online Alzheimer's gene encyclopedia and database, AlzGene.org.

The initial publication of the results of Cure Alzheimer's Fund’s AGP (Bertram et al., 2008), was named by Time magazine as a "Top Ten Medical Breakthrough of 2008". The updated list of now over 100 genes that influence risk for AD from the AGP and other's studies, including the three described in the two new reports from the European Consortium, join the four previously established AD genes discovered between 1987 and 1995, three of which were co-discovered by Cure Alzheimer's Fund Research Consortium Chairperson, Dr. Rudy Tanzi of Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. The combination of all of these genes will be invaluable in driving our progress toward a cure for AD.

At Cure Alzheimer's Fund, we believe that AD will ultimately be conquered by a combination of "early prediction" and "early prevention" of this devastating disease . In both cases, we need to know the complete set of genes that influence one's risk for AD. The complete battery of AD genes will someday be used to both predict one's lifetime probability of getting AD, and to guide research aimed at obtaining a clearer understanding of the causes of AD and developing effective new therapies for AD.

In summary, while the three new AD genes described in the two new European studies exert only modest effects on AD risk, when added to the roughly 100 other AD genes previously identified in the Cure Alzheimer's Fund AGP and other AD genetic screens, we will hopefully move a step closer to our ultimate goal of beating AD with "early prediction-early prevention.”

Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D.
Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy
Professor of Neurology,
Harvard Medical School
Director, Genetics and Aging Research Unit, MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease Massachusetts General Hospital
114 16th Street Charlestown, MA 02129
(T) 617-726-6845 (F) 617-724-1949

About our blog

This is your go-to spot to stay up to date on cutting edge Alzheimer’s research.

The goal of Cure Alzheimer's Fund is to cure the disease and ultimately prevent it from happening at all. So far, we’ve contributed 8.2 million dollars toward research and one example of our progress is that we have identified more than 70 genes linked to the disease…and we’re not stopping until there’s an end to Alzheimer’s.

As we make progress toward a cure, we’re dedicated to keeping you informed about the latest advances and treatments. To make sure you stay up to date, sign up for our mailing list today.

Here are a few things you can expect to find on this blog:

  • Updates on the latest scientific advances in plain English – no PhD required!
  • Posts from our President and CEO Tim Armour about the projects Cure Alzheimer’s is funding, like the Alzheimer’s Genome Project ™.
  • Insights from the organization's founders about future directions.
  • Interviews and video posts from the research teams we support, giving you an inside look at where your donations go.
  • News from our researchers about the breakthroughs that are bringing us closer to a cure.
  • Stories about how families and caregivers are joining in the fight for a cure.

We want to hear from you. Want more information about a specific project? Let us know. Think we’re using too much scientific jargon? Drop us a note. You can contact us here or email info@curealz.org

To learn more about Alzheimer's research and the projects funded by Cure Alzheimer's Fund, please visit our website at http://CureAlz.org

Are you in Boston?

If so, please join us for a presentation at Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital: The Alzheimer’s Genome Project: From Genes to Therapies By Dr. Rudolph Tanzi Kennedy Chair of Neurology at Harvard Medical School and Director of Genetics and Aging Research at Massachusetts General Hospital Wednesday, September 16, 2009 at 6 pm O’Keefe Auditorium Massachusetts General Hospital 55 Fruit Street Boston, MA 02114 Light refreshments will be provided. RSVP to kcutler@curealz.org
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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.