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.
Together we’ve raised about $3 million from over 425 people. We’re funding ten research laboratories in six states working on twelve different, but related research projects. Our core effort, the Alzheimer’s Genome Project (AGP), identifies all genes contributing to increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease and is on schedule for completion by the summer of 2008. Additional key projects include understanding more about how the molecular culprit of the disease, Aβ42, aggregates to wreak its havoc and an investigation of how certain enzyme inhibitors prevent or decrease the production of Aβ42 in the brain.
We’ve also put together our organization, kept to our operating budget (which is funded entirely by the co-founders, so every dollar donated goes directly to research), and hosted about 400 people at seven thank-you and get-acquainted events in five states.
Our progress is encouraging but our biggest challenges are ahead. Federal funding for Alzheimer’s disease has been reduced while the largest population bulge in history is about to hit the danger zone for Alzheimer’s disease — 65 years and older. About 10% of people over 65 and about half of people over 85 have Alzheimer’s disease.
The time is now. A “perfect storm” of factors has converged to facilitate rapid progress in genetic discovery. The mapping of the entire human genome, new technologies that accelerate the identification of specific genes, and the presence of substantial data on families with AD have all combined to make this the right time for significant investment to find the causes and ultimately the cure for this terrible disease.
Our initial collective investment is already paying research dividends. We now need to capitalize on that momentum to sustain the Alzheimer’s Genome Project and have the resources available to explore the discoveries that will inevitably and almost immediately come from it.
We have had a great year but it is only the beginning! We hope you’ll help us put an end to Alzheimer’s Disease.
Henry McCance Jeff and Jacqui Morby Phyllis Rappaport