T-PEP is a new funding initiative that seeks to delay, slow or prevent Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia by accelerating tau research breakthroughs.

Tau Pipeline Enabling Program (T-PEP)

A new era of dementia treatment and research has begun with U.S. FDA approval of two drugs shown to affect the underlying biology of Alzheimer’s. The field of dementia science is rightly excited about the progress made with drugs targeting beta-amyloid protein “plaques,” a hallmark brain change observed in Alzheimer’s disease. However, these groundbreaking therapies are unlikely to be effective for all stages and kinds of dementia. Dementia is a complex syndrome with multiple likely causes. To date, the two new FDA-approved drugs have shown promise for individuals living in the earliest symptomatic stages of Alzheimer’s only. In addition, as many as 4 in 10 cases of dementia may have causes other than Alzheimer’s.

Many dementia scientists believe effective treatment for all will require targeting a variety of distinct biological processes. Emerging evidence suggests that effective treatment for many individuals will be a combination of therapies. A broad array of targets and promising opportunities for therapy development are being studied by Alzheimer’s Association-funded researchers and others. One of the most investigated targets is the development of tau protein “tangles,” another hallmark brain change observed in Alzheimer’s and in more than 20 other brain diseases known collectively as “tauopathies.” Normal tau protein stabilizes neurons, but abnormal tau interferes with their structure and function, resulting in brain cell death.

The Alzheimer’s Association has created the Tau Pipeline Enabling Program (T-PEP) to diversify the drug development pipeline by accelerating tau research breakthroughs. Laboratory researchers are making great strides in identifying the biological pathways that cause tau to accumulate. At the same time, the recent and continuing development of tau PET brain imaging is enabling clinical researchers to track the deposition of tau in the brains of living individuals. These advancements are providing the foundation for the development and testing of innovative drug targets, pharmacological agents and other therapeutic strategies for tauopathies. Through T-PEP, we award grants to researchers to develop treatments that can prevent, reduce, remove or otherwise mitigate the toxic effects of tau build-up. This work is intended to accelerate the bench-to-bedside timeline — the period from discovery in the lab to clinical trials evaluating potential clinical treatments to stop or slow disease progression.

We seek philanthropic partners to join us in advancing promising new therapies via T-PEP. The Alzheimer’s Association has leveraged a generous dollar-to-dollar match from the Rainwater Charitable Foundation to award 18 T-PEP grants across three rounds. These awards total more than $11 million and include five grants awarded in 2022 ranging from $645,000 to $1 million. We seek to raise at least $2 million in philanthropic support to fulfill our funding commitment to the 2022 round of grants. By enriching the drug development pipeline, T-PEP promises to help maximize progress at this time of tremendous potential. Thank you for considering a meaningful investment.

This Project Advances:


Discovery Science


Early Detection





Learn more about the key outcome areas >

Step Up the Pace logo

Step Up the Pace is a special initiative to increase philanthropic investment in four key dementia research outcomes areas: Discovery Science, Early Detection, Treatment and Prevention.


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Email: leadershipgiving@alz.org
Phone: 800.272.3900

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