Alzheimer's Association Awards Nearly $4.2 Million to Accelerate Drug Trials

The Alzheimer's Association has announced a four-year, $4.1 million grant to the Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer's Network-Therapeutic Trials Unit (DIAN-TTU) at Washington University School of Medicine in support of efforts to accelerate innovative drug and biomarker trials in people with genetically based early-onset Alzheimer's disease.

The largest research grant in the association's history will help leverage the existing DIAN network by creating the infrastructure needed to clinically test experimental drug therapies targeting a global network of individuals who have a rare genetic form of Alzheimer's but have not experienced the onset of symptoms. The grant also will be used to expand the global registry of DIAN enrollees, direct preclinical studies to boost the chances of success in the treatment trials, and evaluate treatment compounds.

According to DIAN scientists, a six-month reduction in the treatment discovery timeline could translate to a reduction of up to 2.5 million cases of Alzheimer's. The first biomarker studies could be completed within twelve to eighteen months from the start of trials.

"The association feels confident that by rapidly launching the DIAN-TTU , we will accelerate the scientific community's ability to answer the question of whether an earlier intervention will change the trajectory of the disease process and delay or stop Alzheimer's," said William Thies, the association's chief medical and scientific officer. "This project has the potential to dramatically accelerate the pace of discovery of treatment and prevention strategies for Alzheimer's disease. In addition, we're very pleased that an exceptional group of donors quickly responded to the association's call for critical funding for this project, as they are committed to making strategic and impactful investments in the global Alzheimer's research field."

"." Alzheimer's Association Press Release 03/20/2012. "Alzheimer's Association Awards Largest Ever Research Grant to the Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer's Network (DIAN) for Innovative Therapy Trials." Alzheimer's Association Press Release 03/20/2012.