October 2015

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ICYMI: ACT-AD’s FDA/AD Allies Meeting Recap

On September 16, ACT-AD hosted its Eighth Annual FDA/Alzheimer’s Disease Allies Meeting in North Bethesda, Md. This year’s meeting was titled “Assessing the Scientific Foundation for Alzheimer’s Disease Therapeutic Development.” In case you missed last month’s issue, here’s more on what happened. A more detailed summary will be available in the near future.

Status of FY 2016 FDA Funding Still Up in the Air

Congress has passed a continuing appropriations resolution that funds the government through December 11, leaving much uncertainty as to the state of funding for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for FY 2016. The continuing appropriations resolution “provides continuing FY 2016 appropriations to federal agencies until December 11, 2015, or the enactment of specified appropriations legislation.”

Updates on PDUFA and MDUFA

ACT-AD Executive Director Cynthia Bens spoke at last month’s FDA stakeholder meeting on the sixth Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) Reauthorization in Silver Spring, Md. On October 13, she served on a panel titled PDUFA-VI: Insights & Advocates Laying the Groundwork for PFDD 2.0.  At both meetings, Bens highlighted ACT-AD. The coalition was also represented at the MDUFA meeting on October 26 and will be at the next PDUFA meeting on October 29.

FDA Updates Report on Areas of Progress and Continuing Challenges

In September, the FDA published an updated version of Mission Possible: How FDA Can Move at the Speed of Science on the progress it has made over the last eight years in carrying out its mission as well as the areas it still needs to make strides.  It is a must-read document.

New Members Added to HHS Alzheimer’s Advisory Council

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell has announced that six new members have been named to serve on the Advisory Council on Alzheimer’s Research, Care, and Services. The Council’s purpose is to “continue development and progress on the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease by HHS, Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense, and the National Science Foundation to address the disease.” To learn more about the new members, go here.

AFA Holds Auction to Raise Awareness about Programs

On November 4, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) and WOR Radio are teaming up to hold an auction to raise awareness and money for research in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. Items for bid include basketball and concert tickets, meet and greets, and more. Go here to see all the items up for bid.

Expert Tanzi Talks Alzheimer’s Research

On September 29, the Alliance for Aging Research honored Harvard researcher Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D., with its 2015 Silver Innovator Award for spearheading his research lab’s “Alzheimer’s-in-a-dish model,” a revolutionary 3-D discovery that lends support to the hypothesis that plaques are the early culprits in Alzheimer’s disease. At the dinner, Dr. Tanzi expressed his thoughts about the potential of research into the disease and gave insights into his own research efforts. You can watch his engaging speech here.

Experts Make Discovery into the Role of Microglia in Development of AD

Experts have discovered how the brain’s immune cells, known as microglia, may play a role in the early progression of Alzheimer’s disease. “This study found that tau can be carried from one neuron to another by the brain’s own immune cells in a process that may contribute to the progression of AD,” explains Tsuneya Ikezu, M.D., Ph.D., one of the study authors. This may result in a new therapeutic target for the disease. Read more in the journal Nature Neuroscience. 

The Promise of Small Heat Shock Proteins

Researchers in Germany have published a study that examines the potential of small heat shock proteins to help develop new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.  These proteins have been found to prevent abnormal protein clumping. This new study “takes this a step further by revealing how small heat shock proteins interact with beta-amyloid to prevent clumping.” Read more in the journal Nature Structural & Molecular Biology.