As we enter our 15th year, we are proud and humbled to reflect upon the discoveries we have fostered yet staggered by what we still must do for our loved ones who live with—or are at risk for—Alzheimer’s disease. But there is hope, made possible by your contributions and the dedication of those researchers bringing us closer to a cure.
Today, 6 million people in the United States have Alzheimer’s, and yet we have no cure and no effective treatment. It is a complex disease, and one with no simple answer. Cure Alzheimer’s Fund has taken a unique approach—seeking out researchers with bold ideas for new approaches to finding effective therapies, and then providing the resources they need. Cure Alzheimer’s Fund supports top talent, embraces smart risks and facilitates productive collaboration among researchers.
Last year, your generous support enabled CureAlz to advance the high-risk, high-reward work of 85 scientists from around the world. Our grants have resulted in important discoveries, new hypotheses and critical avenues for development of new treatments.
One recent example of our progress is the establishment of the Berg Consortium—funded by the children of Maxine and Richard Berg—which is fostering multi-institutional collaboration focused on the intersection of cerebrovascular function and neuroimmune activation and resolution. Historically, the brain was thought to be virtually impenetrable: a completely encased and protected organ isolated from the rest of the body by the blood-brain barrier.
New discoveries of the age and disease-associated permeability of the blood-brain barrier, of the brain’s meningeal lymphatic system, and of channels from the marrow of the skull into the brain, have upended this thinking. These all allow materials, good and bad, innate and foreign, to enter and exit the brain. This, along with the new recognition of the innate immune system within the brain itself, opens many new and promising lines of investigation for better understanding—and therefore treatment—of Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.
The Berg Consortium’s strong collaboration among outstanding researchers, and its exploration of new theories vital to translating these discoveries into actionable pathways for therapeutic targeting, are more reason for why we have hope.
We also acknowledge and embrace that there are many other promising lines of scientific inquiry, including the role of pathogens, the microbiome, understanding how sleep and exercise affect brain health and Alzheimer’s pathology, and why the gene variant APOE4 and other variants drive risk for (or promote protection against) Alzheimer’s disease. There is still so much more that can be done today.
For the first time in its history, CureAlz has more high-priority projects submitted by researchers than we can fund, but with your partnership and generosity, we will be able to fund more research in 2019 than in any previous year. As in the past, 100% of your support will go directly to the research that will lead to effective treatments for this insidious disease.
Thank you for your past support and for considering Cure Alzheimer’s Fund in your charitable plans once again this year. We are very grateful for your partnership.
President and CEO
CURE ALZHEIMER’S FUND
P.S. In recognition of our 15th anniversary, Founding Board Member and Co-Chairman Henry McCance has generously donated $2 million in addition to his already generous support. Henry’s leadership challenges and invites us all, at whatever amount is right for us, to give more to end this disease faster and make our hope a reality.