Principal investigator Randall Bateman, M.D.
Recent research advances are enabling the development of experimental drugs to stop the accumulation of abnormal tau protein in the brain — a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. Emerging evidence suggests tau “tangles” correlate closely with changes in memory, thinking and reasoning in people living with Alzheimer’s disease. Tau tangles are also associated with other neurodegenerative disorders such as frontotemporal dementia, Parkinson’s disease, dementia with Lewy bodies and more; collectively these disorders are called “tauopathies.” New understanding of the biological pathways that cause tau to accumulate, combined with the recent development of ways to measure tau in a living person (such as tau PET brain imaging), are enabling — for the first time — the acceleration and testing of innovative therapeutic strategies for tauopathies.
The Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network Trials Unit (DIAN-TU) is uniquely positioned to test new anti-tau drugs. 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 (DIAD) since 2014. Scientists believe a treatment that works for those with DIAD, a form of younger-onset Alzheimer’s caused by genetically inherited mutations, could provide the foundation for the development of treatments and prevention strategies for all people at risk of Alzheimer’s.
DIAN-TU is a clinical trial with a special design that allows the researchers to add or modify investigational treatments in accordance with new findings and, when appropriate, transition to a Phase III trial, potentially saving years in drug testing. DIAN-TU’s operational efficiencies and worldwide network of dedicated study participants provide an unparalleled opportunity to test a new and growing class of anti-tau drugs. DIAN-TU is also primed to implement and test anti-amyloid and anti-tau therapies in combination if data indicate they are promising.
We seek philanthropic partners to join us in powering the first three clinical trial arms of DIAN-TU Tau Next Generation. Leveraging a $100 million commitment from the National Institutes of Health, the Alzheimer’s Association has committed $14 million to enable three three-year anti-tau drug arms (two starting in 2020 and one in 2021). GHR Foundation, a longtime Association partner and a philanthropic leader of dementia research, is funding half of our commitment with the expectation that we will raise the remainder from our community of generous donors. We hope you will join GHR in advancing this groundbreaking clinical trial with us.