Project Boosts Research Seeking Interventions for Alzheimer’s Disease
BETHESDA, MD (October 21, 2010) — The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health announced today that the National Institutes of Health’s Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) — the largest public-private partnership in Alzheimer’s disease research — has been renewed for an additional five years.
The aim of the study expansion, called ADNI2, is to gain new insights into the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease, with the goal of improving clinical trial design and aiding drug development. ADNI2 will seek to identify and track early changes in the brain before the onset of symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease by using imaging techniques and biomarker measures in blood and cerebrospinal fluid.
"The study’s chief goal is to identify biomarkers that recognize Alzheimer’s disease at an early stage and monitor progression and response to treatment," noted Dr. Michael Weiner, ADNI Principal Investigator; Professor of Medicine, Radiology, Psychiatry, and Neurology, University of California, San Francisco; and Director, Center for Imaging of Neurodegenerative Disease, San Francisco Veteran’s Administration Medical Center.
"This grant renewal will fund enrollment and continued measurement of more than 1,000 subjects including healthy elders, people with mild cognitive impairment, and patients with dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease. The continuation of ADNI will accelerate the development of diagnostic methods and clinical treatment trials, helping to develop effective therapies to prevent Alzheimer’s disease," concluded Weiner.
The Foundation for NIH’s Pivotal Role
Some $62 million is expected to support ADNI2 over 5 years. The Foundation for NIH has raised more than $22 million in private-sector funding for the project. The National Institutes of Health anticipates providing $40 million over the course of ADNI2; $8 million was awarded to the project in FY 2010, with a further $32 million committed. Private-sector funding comes from diverse sources, including pharmaceutical, imaging and clinical trial management companies; non-profit organizations; and donations from individuals. Combined with the $27 million raised for ADNI1, nearly $50 million has been raised to date by the Foundation for NIH from the private sector toward these projects.
The National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the NIH, directs the federal government’s Alzheimer’s disease research efforts and leads the ADNI study. "Extending ADNI promises to significantly advance how we track Alzheimer’s disease and test potential treatments," said NIA Director Dr. Richard J. Hodes. "Enabling us to see in the living brain and identifying biomarkers that signal brain changes is revolutionizing the way we study Alzheimer’s. This partnership is critical to the effort to combat Alzheimer’s disease."
"The ambitious path to finding a cure for this dreaded disease is contingent on the proper pace of funding and commitment by the private sector to help to support this worthy endeavor, as corporate sponsors or individual contributors. Alzheimer’s disease knows no boundaries and it doesn’t discriminate," according to Dr. Scott Campbell, Foundation for NIH Executive Director and CEO. "The Foundation for NIH is pleased to facilitate the scientific and financial commitment of these diverse partners in ADNI and now ADNI2."
This expansion of ADNI allows for the recruitment of 550 new study participants and enables researchers to continue following people recruited during earlier phases of the study. "The ADNI partnership is built on the generosity of the study volunteers and their supportive families, who make this vital research possible," said ADNI Project Officer Dr. Neil Buckholtz, NIA Division of Neuroscience.
"We face a national epidemic of Alzheimer’s disease unless there are significant advances very soon that make possible early detection of the disease and create effective treatments. We don’t have these things now, and maintaining the status quo in research methods and funding will not give us these answers anytime soon. Fortunately, studies like ADNI and ADNI2 break the traditional mold and so may more quickly lead us to the breakthroughs we so desperately need," said Dr. William Thies, Alzheimer’s Association Chief Medical and Scientific Officer.
"The innovative partnership and collaborative scientific vision at the heart of ADNI and ADNI2 are inspiring and will generate much-needed new knowledge of how Alzheimer’s develops and progresses, and how and when we can intervene to stop it. The Alzheimer’s Association’s ongoing partnership in ADNI is strong evidence of our role as a catalyst and conveyor to advance Alzheimer research," Thies added.
Thus far, the Foundation for NIH has secured private sector commitments from Abbott; Alzheimer’s Association; Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation; Amorfix Life Sciences Ltd.; AstraZeneca; BioClinica, Inc.; Bristol-Myers Squibb Company; Eisai Inc.; Elan Pharmaceuticals Inc.; Eli Lilly and Company; F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd and its affiliated company Genentech, Inc.; GE Healthcare; Innogenetics, N.V.; Janssen Alzheimer Immunotherapy Research & Development, LLC.; Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development LLC.; Medpace, Inc.; Merck & Co., Inc.; Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation; Pfizer Inc.; Servier; Synarc Inc.; and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company. In addition, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research has committed funds to help support the ADNI clinical sites in Canada.
"Large-scale international partnerships are considered the most effective way to respond to imminent health issues such as Alzheimer’s disease," said Dr. Rémi Quirion, Executive Director, International Collaborative Research Strategy for Alzheimer’s Disease from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). "Canadian experts and patients will greatly benefit from today's funding renewal in Alzheimer's research aimed at diagnosing this condition at an earlier stage by using imaging techniques."
Hope for the Future: A New Model of Collaboration
As budgets tighten in a world where clinical trials are the lifeline to the future, ADNI2 offers a new model for public-private cooperation and collaboration in a proven, pre-competitive environment. It includes idea and data sharing not possible in competitive environments. Since ADNI’s launch in 2004, data have been posted to a publicly accessible database available to qualified researchers worldwide. More than 1,700 researchers have signed up for access to the ADNI database. The public sharing of data is fostering unprecedented collaborations among academics, government and industry researchers, resulting in over 170 published papers. ADNI data are also being used in numerous clinical trial and modeling efforts.
According to Dr. Steven Paul, Foundation for NIH board member and Director of the Appel Institute for Alzheimer’s Research at Weill Cornell Medical College, "Tackling this worldwide epidemic requires the cooperation of a diverse group of partners involved in this project that are all working together to figure out how to eventually cure and prevent this devastating disease."
NOTE: Read the National Institute on Aging’s ADNI release »
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About the Foundation for NIH
Established by the United States Congress to support the mission of the NIH—improving health through scientific discovery in the search for cures—the Foundation for NIH is a leader in identifying and addressing complex scientific and health issues. The foundation is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) charitable organization that raises private-sector funds for a broad portfolio of unique programs that complement and enhance NIH priorities and activities. For additional information about the Foundation for NIH, please visit www.fnih.org.
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