From July 16-21, more than 5,600 members of the Alzheimer's scientific community from 84 countries attended the Alzheimer's Association International Conference® 2011 (AAIC®) in Paris, France.
This record-breaking event unveiled the latest scientific progress in Alzheimer's research and furthered global collaboration to find methods of treatment, prevention and ultimately, a cure.
News released from the conference included the results of a three-country study among the World Wide Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (WW-ADNI) member groups that compared, for the first time, results of brain amyloid imaging and the impact of genetics and ethnicity on those results on three continents. In addition, scientists from the Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer's Network (DIAN) — an international study investigating Alzheimer's caused by rare, dominantly inherited genetic mutations — reported data from the study's initial 150 enrollees. Researchers found that brain chemistry changes can be detected up to 20 years before the expected age of onset and that mutation carriers will develop symptoms at an age very close to that of their affected parent. Other research reported at AAIC included the prevalence of falls among individuals with the earliest signs of Alzheimer's, and evidence that there is a more than two-fold increase in the risk of developing dementia for older veterans who experienced traumatic brain injury.
The 2011 Alzheimer's Association International Research Grant Program (IRGP) awarded more than $12.8 million in research funding to 78 investigators from eight countries. In May 2012, the program expanded to include two grant cycles. The December-May cycle focuses on funding the work of new investigators — the next generation of promising scientists who have earned their doctoral degrees within the last 10 years. The August-October cycle includes New Investigator Grants as well as the Zenith Fellows Awards, Investigator-Initiated Research Grants and Everyday Technologies for Alzheimer's Care Grants.
Since 1982, the Alzheimer's Association, the world's largest nonprofit funder of Alzheimer's disease research, has committed $292 million to more than 2,000 best-of-field grant proposals.
On Oct. 17-18, more than 130 scientists from the pharmaceutical industry, academia, the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency gathered in Washington, D.C. for the Alzheimer's Association Research Roundtable™, sharing their perspectives on the rationale for and feasibility of conducting prevention trials in Alzheimer's disease.
Since its launch in 2008, the Alzheimer's Association International Society to Advance Alzheimer's Research and Treatment (ISTAART) has grown by 81 percent, reaching a total of 1,812 members from 51 different countries in FY12. Members include scientists, physicians and other professionals dedicated to the causes and treatments of Alzheimer's disease and related disorders.
Alzheimer's & Dementia®: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association received an impact factor of 6.373, placing it 11th among 196 journals in the clinical neurology category. The impact factor reflects how often journal articles are cited by researchers and is a measure of the publication's influence in the scientific community.
In FY12, the Alzheimer's Association continued to lead the World Wide Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (WW-ADNI), renewing its financial support for this global organization. The Association brought together more than 85 scientists from across the world to exchange information at a WW-ADNI meeting prior to AAIC 2011 in Paris, France. In addition, the Association made a significant contribution to ADNI-2, the continuation of the ADNI project in North America (NA-ADNI).
In its second year, Alzheimer's Association TrialMatch®, a clinical studies matching service that connects individuals living with Alzheimer's, caregivers, healthy volunteers and physicians with current Alzheimer's clinical trials, saw a steady increase in participation.
In FY12, more than 19,000 people initiated profiles through the service in order to be matched based on their personal criteria and location, a 43 percent increase from the previous year.
Largest-ever research grant:
$4.2 million over four years
In March 2012, the Alzheimer's Association awarded its largest-ever research grant — nearly $4.2 million over four years — to the Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer's Network Trials Unit (DIAN TU), based at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer's Network (DIAN) is investigating dominantly inherited genetic mutations — a rare condition in which children of a parental carrier have a 50-50 chance of inheriting the gene mutation and all who inherit develop Alzheimer's. The Alzheimer's Association grant, funded entirely by private donations from families across the country, will enable the program to move forward more quickly with innovative drug and biomarker trials.
In March 2012, the Alzheimer's Association announced its commitment to the Global Alzheimer's Association Interactive Network (GAAIN™) — an exciting research project with potential to accelerate Alzheimer's research around the world. Building on advances in "cloud computing" technology, scientists across the globe will have access to continually updated data that reflects the latest in Alzheimer's research. Through GAAIN, critically important information will be available free of charge, catalyzing cooperation and discoveries that may one day change the trajectory of this deadly disease.