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Alzheimer's Association Commits $14 Million to Novel Drug Trials in Rare Form of Alzheimer's

Alzheimer's Association Commits $14 Million to Novel Drug Trials in Rare Form of Alzheimer's
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March 15, 2021
Email: media@alz.org
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Funding will help expand the Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer’s Network Trials Unit to include anti-tau drugs

CHICAGO, March 15, 2021 — The Alzheimer’s Association, in partnership with GHR Foundation, has committed $14 million to Tau Next Generation, an expansion of Washington University’s Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network Trials Unit (DIAN-TU). Tau Next Generation will investigate the efficacy of anti-tau drugs in individuals with dominantly inherited Alzheimer’s disease, a devastating rare form of younger-onset Alzheimer’s caused by inherited genetic mutations.

Research advances are enabling the development of experimental drugs to stop the accumulation of abnormal tau protein in the brain, which is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. Evidence suggests tau “tangles” correlate closely with changes in memory, thinking and reasoning in people living with Alzheimer’s disease. Through Tau Next Generation, DIAN-TU will test new anti-tau drugs.

In 2012, the Alzheimer’s Association provided $4.2 million to the Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer’s Network (DIAN) to build the infrastructure for its Trials Unit (TU). At the time, it was the Association’s largest ever research grant. We then provided additional funding to the trials, bringing the total to $16.5 million. Continuing our long-term commitment to funding and accelerating diverse research in the pursuit of effective therapies for Alzheimer's and all dementia, the Alzheimer’s Association is now committing an additional $14 million to Tau Next Generation, which will investigate the efficacy of three anti-tau drugs over three years.

“It has been gratifying to watch DIAN-TU grow to where it is today. The findings from the studies they’ve conducted — positive or negative — are of tremendous value to both individuals living with this disease and the scientific community,” said Maria C. Carrillo, Ph.D., Alzheimer’s Association chief science officer. “Scientists believe a treatment that works for people with this rare form of younger-onset Alzheimer’s could provide the foundation for therapies and prevention strategies for all people at risk of Alzheimer’s.”

One of the world’s leading Alzheimer’s prevention studies, DIAN-TU has been testing experimental anti-amyloid drugs in people who are living with dominantly inherited Alzheimer’s disease since 2012.

Most people with this rare, genetic form of Alzheimer’s have onset of memory and thinking symptoms within a few years of the age their parents’ decline started — often in their mid-40s or 50s. Because we know approximately when the disease symptoms will begin in these individuals, researchers are able to study prevention strategies in this population that could possibly change the course of the disease, which is not possible in people with more common, sporadic Alzheimer’s.

“As long as families are enthusiastic to participate in research, it is vitally important that studies continue in this valuable and understudied population,” said Carrillo.
 

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