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Our Commitment to Accelerate Global Research


The Alzheimer's Association is committed to accelerating the global effort to eliminate Alzheimer's disease. We are the largest nonprofit funder of Alzheimer's research. We connect with scientific, academic, government and industry thought-leaders and key stakeholders worldwide. We believe in the value of collaboration and are a catalyst toward the time when we will have disease-modifying treatments, preventive strategies and gold-standard care for all people affected by Alzheimer's disease.

 

We fund


The Alzheimer's Association funds independent investigators worldwide through our International Research Grants Program. Since awarding our first grants in 1982, the Association has grown into the largest nonprofit funder of Alzheimer's research. Over the life of our grants program, we have awarded over $315 million to more than 2,200 projects.

We fund investigations that advance our understanding of Alzheimer's disease, identify new treatment strategies, improve care for people with dementia, optimize services for their families, and further our knowledge of brain health and disease prevention. Our funding is peer reviewed by a vast international network of volunteer scientists and quality-assured by our Medical and Scientific Advisory Council, a group of distinguished professionals who represent a range of dementia research, including bench research, clinical care, community health and support services.

Learn more about the guiding principles of our grants program.

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Catalyst to progress

We have funded some of the most exciting advances in Alzheimer's research, including the development of Pittsburgh Compound B (PIB), the first radiotracer capable of showing beta-amyloid in the living brain during a PET scan. Learn more about studies we have funded.

We connect and convene


As the world's leading Alzheimer's nonprofit, the Alzheimer's Association provides premier global forums for the greatest minds in Alzheimer's science to collaborate, connect across disciplines, address common challenges and share new discoveries:

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We collaborate


No single organization can surmount a challenge as great as Alzheimer's disease. To help achieve our vision of a without Alzheimer's, the Association partners with dozens of key government, industry and academic stakeholders in the global race to end Alzheimer's.

One of the Association's most notable partnerships is with the National Institute on Aging (NIA), the primary federal Alzheimer's research agency of the National Institutes of Health. The Association has worked closely with the NIA since our founding in 1980. In 2011, workgroups jointly convened by the Association and the NIA issued new diagnostic guidelines for Alzheimer's disease and proposed a research agenda to define a new preclinical stage of the disease. The Association and the NIA also have collaborated in funding and recruiting participants for several flagship clinical trials.

Another of our strongest partnerships supports the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI), a groundbreaking investigation to identify and standardize strategies for earlier diagnosis and disease monitoring. The Alzheimer's Association has awarded several million dollars in grants to support the original ADNI study and its extensions. The Association also funded the European Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (E-ADNI), a pilot study that grew into World Wide ADNI (WW-ADNI), a program with the potential to significantly broaden ADNI's biomedical database and international applicability. The Alzheimer's Association continues to provide leadership and financial support for World Wide ADNI.

We advocate


An increase in federal research funding is critical to forestall both the loss of life and the financial burden on the nation because today there are no survivors and there is no cure. Since our 1980 founding, the Alzheimer's Association has fulfilled a vital role as a nonprofit force complementing federal and industry initiatives. We work to ensure that our national policy and research agendas reflect the importance of Alzheimer's disease as a leading cause of death and disability, a personally devastating illness, and an emerging health care crisis for employers as well as public and private payers. Learn more about our advocacy efforts.

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We seize opportunities


We use our many connections and collaborations in the global research community to identify issues, gaps and opportunities. Our research program is broad, strong and nimble enough to enable us to react quickly. Recent needs we addressed quickly include:

Increase clinical studies participants. A major impediment to developing new drugs is recruiting and retaining enough qualified participants. To help inform, mobilize and motivate study participants, the Association has launched Alzheimer's Association TrialMatch, a user-friendly tool to help prospective participants and physicians identify clinical studies that interest them. Learn more about TrialMatch.

Foster cross-institutional quality and consistency in measuring biomarkers. Investigating levels of key Alzheimer-related proteins in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is one of the most active areas of research in the drive to earlier diagnosis. One challenge is that analysis of protein levels in the same sample often varies significantly from institution to institution. To facilitate consistency and move this vital area forward, the Association has funded the Alzheimer's Association QC Program for CSF Biomarkers. Organizations can improve their analytic capabilities by comparing their outcomes to results at reference laboratories in the United States and Europe. Learn more about the importance of earlier diagnosis.

Stimulate a committed response and federal action. To help document the importance of Alzheimer's as a national health priority, the Association in 2007 released its first edition of Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures, a comprehensive annual statistical brief detailing the burden of Alzheimer's and other dementias on individuals, families, local and state government and the nation's health care system. Read the most recent edition.

Key accomplishments


Through our partnerships and funded projects, the Alzheimer's Association has been part of every major research advancement over the past 30 years. Our flagship accomplishments include:

  • Growing into the world's largest nonprofit funder of Alzheimer's research by committing in excess of $300 million to more than 2,100 projects over the life of our grants program
  • Joining forces with the National Institute on Aging to convene workgroups of international experts who forged a professional consensus and published the first new diagnostic guidelines for Alzheimer's disease in 27 years
  • Working tirelessly to achieve passage of the National Alzheimer's Project Act (NAPA), groundbreaking legislation establishing our first-ever framework for a national strategic plan to address the Alzheimer's crisis and to coordinate our response on multiple fronts, including research, care and support.
  • Funding the Alzheimer's Association Quality Control Program for CSF Biomarkers to facilitate cross-institutional consistency in analyzing Alzheimer-related spinal fluid proteins by enabling organizations to compare their sample analysis outcomes to results at reference laboratories in the United States and Europe
  • Co-funding the International Genomics of Alzheimer's Project (IGAP), a global collaboration to discover and map all the genes involved in Alzheimer's disease
  • Bringing research on chronic brain inflammation into the mainstream of Alzheimer's research
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  • Supporting research on social and behavioral aspects of Alzheimer's disease
  • Broadening the scope of the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) — a federally funded large-scale longitudinal study to identify Alzheimer's biomarkers — into World Wide ADNI, an international initiative
  • Funding preliminary identification of tarenflurbil (Flurizan), a potential disease-modifying treatment that advanced to Phase 3 clinical trials, as well as 14 potential targets for investigational drugs
  • Advancing research on potential diagnostic tools, including Pittsburgh Compound B (PIB), FDG-PET, MRI and a test analyzing blood levels of 18 proteins
  • Defining and promoting nonpharmaceutical interventions for Alzheimer's disease
  • Supporting studies that helped establish the beta-amyloid hypothesis — a leading theory of the cause of Alzheimer-related brain cell degeneration
  • Developing the first comprehensive statistical brief on the epidemiology of Alzheimer's and the cost of the disease and other dementias to families, communities and our nation
  • Supporting investigation of the role of vascular risk factors in Alzheimer's
  • Playing a pivotal role in knowledge transfer across disciplines, organizations, generations and continents with our:

Recent examples of research threads we've funded

Presinilin effect on amyloid production
Effects of oxidative stress and inflammation in AD
Genetic impact of APP/PS1
Messenger RNA and AD
Multiple mechanisms of cholinergic pathways in AD
Vascular contribution to AD
ABeta and synapses
Calcium dysregulation and AD
Heat shock proteins and AD
Cytokines and AD
Proteases and AD
Protein misfolding and AD
Role of IL1 in AD
APP transmembrane and intracellular domains
Aggregation of ABeta and effects of oligomers
Role of glutamate dyshomeostasis in AD
Tau toxicity in AD
New PET ligands for diagnosing AD (Not PIB)
High intensity MRI
Role of RAGE in AD
Role of BDNF in AD
Inhalation anesthetics and AD
Development of new scales for AD including pain and clinical meaningfulness
Cholesterol and AD
Beta-catenin and synaptic pathology and AD
Growth hormone treatment of MCI
Vaccines for AD
Neurotrophins and AD
Protein traffic in AD
Neuropil threads and AD
Molecular mechanisms of neurodegeneration in frontotemporal dementia
Potassium channels and AD
Insulin and insulin-degrading enzyme in AD
Role of ubiquitin in AD
BACE and BACE inhibitors in AD
Role of APOe in AD and possible therapeutic possibilities
Programmed cell death in AD
Down syndrome and AD
Patient ability to consent in AD
Role of copper and zinc in AD
Glial system and AD
Role of hormone replacement therapy in AD
Metal chelators and AD
Biomarkers for AD
EEG and diagnosis of AD
Differences in AD in minority communities
Blood pressure control and AD