May 2015

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ACT-AD Offers Comment on 21st Century Cures Bill

ACT-AD’s Executive Director Cynthia Bens offered support for the 21st Century Cures Act, which was approved by the House Energy & Commerce Committee this month. Ms. Bens noted in a May 19 letter to Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO) that the bill could improve various aspects of biomedical research and regulatory approval processes, if sufficiently funded. The letter also included feedback on specific provisions in the bill, including: Patient-Focused Drug Development, Qualification and Use of Drug Development Tools, Modern Trial Design and Evidence Development, and Improving Scientific Expertise and Outreach at FDA. An additional provision in the final bill exempts FDA user fees from sequestration. This is a provision that members of ACT-AD supported as stand-alone legislation. To read the letter to Chairman Upton and Representative DeGette, click here.  For more information on the 21st Century Cures Bill, click here.

ICYMI: ACT-AD Webinar on Novel Targets for AD Treatment Available

This is a reminder that the ACT-AD webinar “Targets for the Next Generation of Alzheimer’s Disease Treatment” is now available. This webinar provided an overview of the science behind the pursuit of novel targets and highlighted current partnerships between the public and private sectors aimed at accelerating the identification and validation of these targets. An archived edition of the webinar and program slides are available here.

Recommendations on NIH Summit Released

The National Institute on Aging recently released recommendations from its “Alzheimer’s Disease Research Summit 2015: Path to Treatment and Prevention,” of which ACT-AD was one of the sponsors. This includes recommendations on sharing of AD research, developing new scientific approaches, and forging new partnerships. Get the complete report here.

ACT-AD To Take Part in BIO International Convention

ACT-AD will participate in next month’s 2015 BIO International Convention in Philadelphia. Executive Director Cynthia Bens will be part of a panel on the topic of “Speaking Up: The Role of Patient Advocates in Shaping Regulatory and Science Policy.”  Ms. Bens will join others to “share experiences, analysis and best practices for shaping public policy for the betterment of science, and in the hope of ensuring a brighter future for the patients they serve.” Learn more about the session here.

New Report on International Forum to Advance AD
Research Released  

Last fall, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) conducted a two-day workshop in Switzerland that served as an international forum to drive biomedical research and health innovation for Alzheimer’s disease. The OECD has released the results of that workshop in a new report titled “Enhancing Translational Research and Clinical Development for Alzheimer’s Disease and other Dementias.” ACT-AD was proud to be represented at the meeting.  To read it, please go here.

Peptide D8 Offers Potential Early Intervention
for Alzheimer’s Disease

A discovery described by one study expert as “completely different from any current approaches that target beta amyloid” offers a potential early intervention for AD. Researchers at UC, San Diego, have discovered compounds, called peptide D8, that they say block beta amyloid production in mice. The study is published in the journal PLOS ONE.

Aspiring Scientist Takes on AD

Melissa Young takes Alzheimer’s disease personally.  It has affected both her grandmother and aunt. So she decided she’d make it her professional goal to find a cure. A third-year grad student at the University of Georgia’s College of Pharmacy, she is working to find out more about the role oxidative stress plays in the development of AD.  Her story is inspiring!  Watch it here.

Comprehensive New Study on Cognitive Aging Released

What is cognitive aging and how does affect an individual?  That is the focus of a new study from The Institute of Medicine (IOM) called “Cognitive Aging: Progress in Understanding and Opportunities for Action.” It gives a thorough overview of cognitive aging, including “on definitions and terminology, epidemiology and surveillance, prevention and intervention, education of health professionals, and public awareness and education.” To learn more about this resource, please go here.

A Connection between AD and Diabetes?

Experts at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis say they have discovered a connection between AD and diabetes, giving further credence to the theory elevated blood sugar could affect memory function. “Our results suggest that diabetes, or other conditions that make it hard to control blood sugar levels, can have harmful effects on brain function and exacerbate neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease,” said lead author Shannon Macauley, Ph.D. Read more in The Journal of Clinical Investigation.