Can Alzheimer’s be Prevented? $10 Million Says You Betcha

Alzheimer’s disease has been around a long time. It’s totally devastating, and incurable, and as science begins to shed light on the associated risk factors, and early signs that someone may be susceptible to the disease at a later date, research slowly begins to focus on prevention. There’s no cure once Alzheimer’s takes hold, but what about before that happens? What if there was a way to prevent this nightmare?

With that hope in mind, the Alzheimer's Association, the GHR Foundation, and Fidelity Biosciences Research Initiative have announced a five-year, $10 million grant to the Banner Alzheimer's Institute in support of a disease prevention trial to be launched later this year. Could therapies targeting amyloid proteins in the brain prevent or delay the emergence of Alzheimer's symptoms in people at particularly high genetic risk for developing the disease at older ages? Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative APOE4 is set to explore that question.

Specifically, the trial will test the effect on the development of memory- and thinking-related symptoms of two potential therapies — an active immunotherapy aimed at triggering the body's immune system to block different forms of the amyloid protein, and a drug designed to prevent the production of amyloid protein that accumulates in the brain to form plaques, one of the hallmarks of the disease. The grant, which includes $5 million from the GHR Foundation, will fund brain PET imaging at the start of the trial and two-year follow-ups, a sub-study to evaluate two remote genetic counseling approaches, and an expansion of the Alzheimer's Prevention Registry.

"We are extremely grateful to these three organizations for their extraordinary support," said BAI executive director Eric Reiman. "These funds will not only help make it possible to evaluate two promising Alzheimer's prevention therapies, but to do so in a way that will help the field find treatments that work as soon as possible."