Update from the Board: December 2009

Posted January 4, 2010

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.


Cure Alzheimer’s Fund focuses on research that is speed-driven, results-oriented and innovative to stop a disease that will strike half of us older than age 85. More than 2,000 of you have joined us in making investments that enjoy a significant track record of success:


We leverage investments in research.

  • Cure Alzheimer’s Fund has invested relatively small amounts of high-risk seed money in innovative ideas to understand Alzheimer’s pathology. These investments have paid off handsomely in “proof of concept” work that has provided data to win much larger federal grants for sustained investigations.

Our strategy and profile are unique.

  • Our world-renowned researchers carefully developed a Research Roadmap that identifies the most expeditious route to a cure.
  • All donated funds go directly to research. We do not risk monies by funding an endowment; our overhead costs are paid for by the founders.
  • We insist that findings from our research be made available to other researchers as soon as possible. We take no intellectual property rights to our researchers’ work.

Our funded research is cure-driven, based on the solid science of genetics and designed to collapse dramatically the time required to develop effective treatments and preventions.

  • Cure Alzheimer’s Fund supported 19 researchers at 14 organizations working on 28 projects this year.
  • One set of investigators has focused on better understanding aggregates of Abeta, a key initial “actor” in Alzheimer’s pathology that is thought to be toxic to the brain’s neuronal synapses.
  • Another is looking more closely at synaptic activity in particular.
  • A third group is exploring certain enzymes that help produce Abeta to understand how to regulate that produc <
    script src=”plugins/editors/tinymce/jscripts/tiny_mce/themes/advanced/langs/en.js” type=”text/javascript”> tion for a more healthy brain.
  • A fourth effort is under way to understand how Dimebon, a new drug in test trials, actually works in the face of contradictory early data.
  • And, perhaps most importantly, our researchers are in the process of analyzing the more than 70 new Alzheimer’s candidate genes identified in our Alzheimer’s Genome Project™ to identify priorities for focused efforts to understand the deleterious actions of such genes and block those actions.

We have leading researchers following a Roadmap to a Cure.

  • Cure Alzheimer’s Fund is the only research organization with a real plan to end Alzheimer’s disease—we call it our Roadmap to a Cure. By addressing the problem at its root and finding major causes of the disease, we already are accelerating the development of effective therapies.
  • Our research consortium recently held its annual meeting in Chicago, at which we laid out an aggressive strategy for the next year, exploring some of the more pressing questions that linger in Alzheimer’s pathology. Funded projects in our future include: exploring the mechanism and structure of APOE4, the gene variant responsible for approximately 50 percent of late-onset Alzheimer’s; understanding the crucial link between the Abeta peptide and the Tau protein that is a major component of tangles, the signature structural identifier of the disease; and creating a new mouse model for research that more closely approximates the natural biological context for AD pathology.

We hope you’ll join with us to find the cure. Donations to Cure Alzheimer’s Fund have paid off, and every dollar of new funds leads us closer to understanding and eliminating Alzheimer’s. If you have made a gift, we thank you for your continued support. If you haven’t, please consider making a gift today to help end Alzheimer’s in our lifetimes.

With best regards,

Henry McCance, Jeff and Jacqui Morby and Phyllis Rappaport