CHICAGO, December 20, 2021
— The Alzheimer’s Association®
, with GHR Foundation and Edward Jones, announced a $14 million commitment in support of Washington University’s Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer’s Network Trials Unit (DIAN-TU) Primary Prevention Trial, the world’s first clinical trial aiming to determine if a rare form of Alzheimer’s disease can be prevented decades prior to the onset of dementia symptoms.
One of the world’s leading Alzheimer’s prevention studies, DIAN-TU has been testing experimental drugs in people living with dominantly inherited Alzheimer’s disease (DIAD), a rare genetically determined form of Alzheimer’s, since 2012. Researchers now plan to test whether gantenerumab — an investigational antibody under development for Alzheimer’s disease by Roche and Genentech — can clear a key protein called amyloid beta from the brain, and, as a result, prevent dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease.
“In most cases, it’s difficult to predict who will develop Alzheimer’s and when, making testing potential drug therapies at an early stage challenging. Because the age of dementia onset is more predictable in people living with DIAD, we are able to test potential therapies decades before symptoms begin,” said Maria C. Carrillo, Ph.D., Alzheimer’s Association chief science officer. “The knowledge gained from this research is of great value to the scientific community and the Alzheimer’s Association’s commitment of $14 million will enable a rapid launch of DIAN-TU Primary Prevention and get potentially impactful therapies to people quicker.”
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). Over the years, the Association has invested more than $30 million to DIAN-TU, including $14 million in early 2021 to Tau Next Generation, which is investigating the efficacy of three anti-tau drugs over three years through DIAN-TU. The new investment in the Primary Prevention Trial brings the Association’s total investment in DIAN-TU to over $44 million.
“Testing therapies at such an early stage of Alzheimer’s may prevent cognitive decline by preventing plaques from forming in the first place,” said Fred Miller, GHR Foundation’s Chief Operating Officer and Alzheimer’s Program Lead. “We’re very pleased to partner with the Alzheimer’s Association in supporting this effort and are grateful for the dedication of DIAN families and the research team led by Dr. Randy Bateman and Dr. Eric McDade at Washington University.”
Most people with this rare, genetic form of Alzheimer’s — which accounts for 1% or less of Alzheimer's cases — 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 intervene and study early 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.
“In our partnership with the Alzheimer's Association, we are making a positive difference in the lives of our clients and colleagues, and together, bettering our communities and society,” said Ken Cella, Edward Jones principal responsible for the Client Strategies Group.
“We look forward to the results of this study, and hope that they inform prevention strategies for all people at risk of Alzheimer’s,” said Carrillo. “Preventing Alzheimer’s before it damages brain cells is optimal because it would save individuals and families money and, more importantly, the anguish of this fatal disease.”
About the Alzheimer's Association
The Alzheimer’s Association is a worldwide voluntary health organization dedicated to Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Our mission is to lead the way to end Alzheimer's and all other dementia — by accelerating global research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality care and support. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's and all other dementia®. Visit alz.org or call 800.272.3900.