Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a devastating neurological disease for which there currently are no effective therapeutics. Critical to the development of therapeutics that may treat and even cure AD is an understanding of the dynamics (the change over time) of certain amyloid-beta (Aβ) proteins that are a likely cause of AD in the human brain. We are using the most advanced imaging technology to answer these questions in patients in order to accelerate drug development and improve patient outcomes.
See what research we fund.
- Randall Bateman, MDWashington University School of Medicine (St. Louis, MO)ID:A2017081SCo-principal Investigators:Robert Schmidt, MD, PhD; Norelle C. Wildburger, PhDCollaborators:Frank Gyngard, PhD; Bruce Patterson, PhD; Matthew L. Steinhauser, MDJuly 1, 2017 to September 30, 2020Alzheimer's DiseaseStandard$300,000
- Ephraim F. Trakhtenberg, PhDUniversity of Connecticut Health Center (Farmington, CT)
The biological molecular mechanisms controlling the growth of connections in the central nervous system (CNS) are still poorly understood. The inability of the eye to regenerate such connections to the brain is the key reason why vision is lost from optic nerve damage, which can happen in a disease such as glaucoma, cannot be restored. We propose to identify novel biological regulators of the intrinsic ability of the retinal cells to regrow such connections between the eye and the brain. These studies could lead to the development of therapeutics for restoring simple visual abilities to those who became blind due to angle-closure glaucoma, and possibly other types of glaucoma.ID:G2017204July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2019GlaucomaStandard$150,000
- Pietro Michelucci, PhDHuman Computation Institute (Ithaca, NY)
The central aim of this project is to accelerate research into potential Alzheimer's treatments targeting the brain microvasculature. This will be done through our EyeOnALZ project, which uses Citizen Science (a form of crowdsourcing). Without this crowdsourced program, the same research would otherwise take decades to complete. Our approach is to transform a time-consuming laboratory task into an online game that anyone can play. Project success depends upon recruiting and sustaining an active population of public volunteers and improving our ability to extract research value from each participant. We also hope this project provides a hands-on way for people affected by Alzheimer's disease (AD) to make an impact on their own future or that of a loved one, and that it educates the general public about the disease.ID:CA2017606July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2019Alzheimer's DiseaseOther$484,910
- Ji Yi, PhDBoston Medical Center (Boston, MA)
Glaucoma is an eye disease that affects millions of American’s vision. The best way to slow and stop the disease is to detect it early; however, existing methods are insufficient to do so. We plan to develop a new optical imaging technology to examine the eye, which is very sensitive to early glaucoma so that we can use it for early diagnosis. This project not only may benefit many people by helping to prevent blindness, but also could enhance our understanding how this disease develops.ID:G2017077Collaborators:Manishi Desai, MDJuly 1, 2017 to June 30, 2019GlaucomaStandard$150,000
- Esther G. Gonzalez, PhDKrembil Research Institute (Toronto, Canada)
Glaucoma is known as the “silent killer of vision” because a large proportion of people are not aware they have it until the late stages of the disease, and therefore it is very important to detect the disease early so these patients get help. It is also important to understand the disease in order to develop new lines of treatments. There are new indications that changes occur not only in the eyes but also in the brain of these patients, particularly in a structure that connects the two brain hemispheres. We plan to study the function of this brain structure in humans with glaucoma using a series of non-invasive tests.
This grant was transferred to Dr. Esther G. Gonzalez upon the passing of the original PI, Dr. Martin Steinbach in June 2017. The research project is being continued in Martin's memory.ID:G2017093July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2019GlaucomaStandard$150,000
- Sarah McFarlane, PhDUniversity of Calgary (Canada)
In neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the sprouting of new blood vessels (angiogenesis/neovascularization) leads to the death of the nerve cells of the retina. Neovascular AMD places a substantial burden on patients and the healthcare system. Current approaches to block new blood vessels from forming are not effective in many patients and they have serious side effects. There’s an urgent need for effective new ways to prevent these faulty new blood vessels from forming, but not affect the health of retinal nerve cells or the normal blood vessels. To address this need, we are developing a genetic animal model where we can rapidly identify novel, safe and effective drugs for the treatment of neovascular AMD.ID:M2017002July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2019Macular DegenerationStandard$123,160
- Sarah DeVos, PhDMassachusetts General Hospital/Harvard University (Boston, MA)
A major driver of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the accumulation of the protein tau that travels through the human brain in a constant pattern. Tau molecules become misshapen and aggregate in AD, though no one has yet identified how, or even if, these tau accumulations result in neuronal death. In this research, we have developed a fluorescent tool that will allow us to watch tau collect in neurons both in cell culture as well as the living adult mouse brain. Using this tool, this research aims to observe directly, in real time, what happens once a neuron develops a tau aggregate, as well as to study which genes increase or decrease in a neuron once it develops one of these tau accumulations. Together, these data will help us better understand the immediate changes that occur in adult neurons when they develop AD-like tau accumulations and may help identify new druggable pathways involved in the development of AD in human patients.
Note: This grant was terminated by the investigator in February of 2018 when she left Harvard University for an industry position.ID:A2017436FMentors:Bradley Hyman, MD, PhDJuly 1, 2017 to June 30, 2019Alzheimer's DiseasePostdoctoral Fellowship$100,000
- Randy McIntosh, PhDBaycrest Centre for Geriatric Care (Toronto, Canada)
The brain is a complicated system whose different parts interact to support a variety of cognitive functions. This complexity makes it difficult to treat diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, where many different brain areas can be affected, but lead to very similar deficits, such as memory dysfunction. Our research provides a framework of tools to “reconstruct” the brain and build models of different dementias to characterize the unique features of each disease and the final common paths to cognitive impairment. As our work progresses, it will be used to evaluate the potential of therapeutic interventions to help identify treatment targets, or areas of the brain that, if treated, are most likely to result in the best outcome for the individual.ID:A2017286SCo-principal Investigators:Kelly Shen, PhDCollaborators:Michael Breakspear, PhD; Viktor Jirsa, PhD; Petra Ritter, PhD; Ana Solodkin, PhDJuly 1, 2017 to June 30, 2020Alzheimer's DiseaseStandard$299,565
- Mar Hernandez-Guillamon, PhDVall de Hebron Research Institute (Barcelona, Spain)
Beta-amyloid (Aβ) protein accumulates abnormally in the Alzheimer’s brain, to a degree that is believed to be sufficient to induce neuronal cell death. Evidence suggests that the levels and distribution of lipids in the brain influence the transport and deposition of Aβ protein. The aim of this proposal is to determine the effect of a new treatment based on the administration of a natural modified protein that is able to mobilize lipids in a transgenic mouse model of AD. This protein, the ApoA-I-Milano variant, has been shown to be protective in cardiovascular diseases; however, its properties have never been tested in brain diseases.ID:A2017243SCollaborators:Lidia Giménez-Llort, PhD; Fabien Gosselet, PhDJuly 1, 2017 to June 30, 2020Alzheimer's DiseaseStandard$300,000
- Chadwick Hales, MD, PhDEmory University (Atlanta, GA)
Brain cells are made up of many different proteins that help them work correctly. Bad proteins can build up in the brain cells and cause them to become sick and die in Alzheimer’s disease. We want to study how a group of proteins known as ribonucleic acid (RNA) processing factors may cause bad proteins to build up in the cells. Results from the study may show us a new way to slow or stop the brain cell injury in Alzheimer’s disease (AD).ID:A2017281SCollaborators:Lary Walker, PhDJuly 1, 2017 to June 30, 2020Alzheimer's DiseaseStandard$300,000