Research Updates

Stem Cells Accelerate Research & Drug Discovery

Washington—Uncovering the cure for Alzheimer’s disease at a rate never before possible and giving individuals a way to better understand their chances of facing Alzheimer’s are the outcomes of new advances in stem cell research from the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund (CAF) Stem Cell Research Consortium that use skin samples to identify potential therapies for the disease.

Origins of Alzheimer's Increasingly Clear

Consensus among Alzheimer’s researchers about the origins of the disease is growing. Most, including members of Cure Alzheimer’s Fund Research Consortium, agree that a combination of factors, beginning with the excessive build-up of the peptide Abeta42  triggering  the development of tau tangles, nerve cell death, and inflammation are all required for Alzheimer’s pathology.

Cure Alzheimer's-seeded Research Bears Fruit in Major New NIH-funded Study

A new study by David Holtzman of Cure Alzheimer’s Fund’s Research Consortium published by the journal “Science Translational Medicine” brings sharp new focus on the direct relationship between the accumulation of Abeta in the brain and notorious sleep problems associated with Alzheimer's disease. This NIH-funded study (also supported by Ellison Medical Foundation) was made possible by early pilot studies initiated by the Cure Alzheimer's Fund --- another great example of leveraging innovative research ideas into substantially funded, high impact projects.

New NEJM Study Opens Door to New Prevention Studies

A study just published in the New England Journal of Medicine points to the value of conducting a new series of Alzheimer's prevention studies, suggests Cure Alzheimer's Consortium member Sam Gandy in an accompanying NEJM editorial. The study, led by Washington University's Randall J. Bateman, found that patients with a more genetic-oriented form of Alzheimer's experience a rise in beta-amyloid (Aβ) up to 25 years before symptoms begin -- and an increased level of tau protein up to 15 years before symptoms.

Solanezumab Fails in Trial -- But May Still Help with Mild Alzheimer's

On Friday, August 24, Eli Lilly announced that their beta-amyloid immunotherapy (solanezumab) failed to meet its primary clinical endpoints for Alzheimer's disease. This disappointment follows the recent failure of another promising beta-amyloid immunotherapy, bapineuzumab from Pfizer/Johnson and Johnson-Jannsen/Elan. Both drugs failed in Phase 3 clinical trials, where they were being tested for their actual effect on Alzheimer's patients.

Gene Mutation Found that Protects Against Alzheimer’s, with Drug Discovery Implications

Genes are the specific DNA blueprints for life, and all genes play roles that are essential for health. But some can carry DNA variants that influence risk for disease, either by increasing or decreasing susceptibility. If a variation in a gene is very rare, it’s called a mutation. The mutation may cause disease, increase risk for a disease, protect against a disease, or have no impact on health at all.

Untangling Tau: Seeking a Unified Understanding of Alzheimer's

Alzheimer’s research for many years has been dominated by a focus on Abeta “plaques,” a focus that largely has overlooked the other infamous hallmark of the disease—the tau-based neurofibrillary “tangles.” The research world recently has broadened its scope to include significant research into tau.

Big Step Toward Understanding Origins of Alzheimer’s Taken by Cure Alzheimer’s Fund Researchers

Charles Glabe of the University of California, Irvine and our Research Consortium and George Bloom of the University of Virginia have added significantly to the growing evidence of the link between the proteins Abeta and tau in initiating Alzheimer’s disease. In a collaboration supported by Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, the two researchers and their colleagues identify a little-studied form of Abeta as a possible key to the ultimate destruction of nerve cells in the brain.

Research Consortium Member David Holtzman’s Latest Paper Published in Journal of Neuroscience

Cure Alzheimer’s Fund Research Consortium member David Holtzman’s latest paper has been published in the Journal of Neuroscience, addressing how Alzheimer’s plaques affect brain networks.
 

Alzheimer's and Diabetes: Finding the Common Origin

Alzheimer’s disease and Type II diabetes long have been observed to have a clinical connection, with patients with diabetes more than twice as likely as those without the disease to develop Alzheimer’s. But the precise nature of this connection has been a mystery until recently. Over the last few years, research projects funded by Cure Alzheimer’s Fund and others have helped bring us much closer to an understanding of the molecular connection—and, potentially, to effective treatments for both diseases.