April 2015


ACT-AD Holds Webinar on Novel Targets for AD Treatment

On April 27 ACT-AD held the first in a series of webinars on the future of research, therapeutic development, and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. The series kicked off on the topic of “Targets for the Next Generation of Alzheimer’s Disease Treatment” featuring presentations by Suzana Petanceska, Ph.D., program director, Division of Neuroscience, National Institute on Aging, and George Perry, Ph.D., dean of the College of Sciences and professor of Biology, University of Texas at San Antonio. The webinar covered the need for novel targets for Alzheimer’s disease, 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.

ACT-AD Calls for $200 Million Increase in FY 2016 Appropriated Funding for FDA

ACT-AD’s executive director, Cynthia Bens, has called on the U.S. Congress to increase appropriated funding for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration by $200 million over FY 2015 levels. In a letter addressed to Rep. Robert Aderholt (AL), Rep. Sam Farr (CA), Sen. Jerry Moran (KS), and Sen. Jeff Merkley (OR), the coalition requested a total funding amount of $2.8 billion. Both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate are currently reviewing the proposed FY 2016 federal budget. Read more here.

NIA Seeks Volunteers for Alzheimer’s Disease Clinical Trials

The National Institute on Aging has sent out a request for volunteers for more than 150 Alzheimer’s disease and related clinical trials across the U.S.  The NIA seeks at least 70,000 people with Alzheimer’s disease as well as healthy volunteers and caregivers.  Please help spread the word about this important request. You can go here for more information.

ACT-AD Science Advisory Board Member Dr. Reisa Sperling and A4 Study Featured in Prevention Magazine

The potential of the A4 trial to help find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease was the focus of an article in the May 2015 issue of Prevention Magazine.  The article also featured ACT-AD Science Advisory Board member Reisa A. Sperling, M.D., MMSc, who serves as the project leader for the trial.  The A4 study, also known as the Anti-Amyloid Treatment in Asymptomatic Alzheimer’s study, is a three-year trial to “test whether a new investigational treatment, called an anti-amyloid antibody, can slow memory loss caused by Alzheimer’s disease.”  The study includes individuals ages 65 to 85 who display normal memory thinking and memory function, but who may be at risk for memory loss due to AD. To learn more about the study, please go here.

Senate Committee Hearings on Innovation Continue

Last month, we shared details about a hearing that the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions held on continuing America’s leadership in medical research. The committee hosted two follow up hearings on March 24 and April 28; continuing America’s leadership in medical innovation for patients, Alzheimer’s disease, and progress on neurological disease treatment were all raised during the hearings. You can watch the hearings here.

NIH Puts Focus on Alzheimer’s Disease

Over the last couple of weeks, the National Institutes of Health has shared several updates about its work surrounding Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.  First, it offered an overview of The Alzheimer’s Disease Research Summit 2015: Path to Treatment and Prevention held in February and attended by more than 500 experts and advocates. The conference resulted in an ambitious scientific agenda aimed at treating and preventing the disease by 2025. Noted NIH Director Dr. Francis S. Collins at the meeting, “I think we’ve entered a new era in Alzheimer’s [disease] research. There are new models of collaboration and data sharing. There are fantastic advances scientifically.” NIH is also preparing a budget that for the first time will estimate for Congress the costs of reaching the research goals of the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease. And finally, NIH has launched its AMP-AD Knowledge Portal, an important new data resource that’s open to all researchers. It “provides entrée to large scale human ‘omics’ data sets needed to discover and select the next generation of therapeutic targets for Alzheimer’s disease.”

MIND Diet May Reduce Risk of AD

A study published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association suggests a diet known as MIND, a hybrid of the Mediterranean and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets, could reduce a person’s risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease. According to researchers, study participants who followed a strict adherence to the diet lowered their AD risk by as much as 53 percent. Learn more here.

Cancer Drug May Offer Hope to Alzheimer’s Disease Patients

Experts at the Yale School of Medicine have found that the cancer drug, AZD05030, restored memory and connections between brain cells in mouse models. The drug appears to block damage created by amyloid-beta plaques. Encouraged by the success of their study, scientists plan to launch human trials.  To find out more, please go here.

Deprivation of Nutrient Arginine Could Cause AD

An article published in The Journal of Neuroscience details a new study that offers evidence that the immune system could play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. The Duke University study in mice suggests that with Alzheimer’s disease “certain immune cells that normally protect the brain begin to abnormally consume an important nutrient: arginine.” This not only points to a new potential cause, but also potential treatment avenues. Go here for more.