Banner Alzheimer’s Institute Receives Added NIH Support – Five-year funding expected to total $14.8 million to support groundbreaking Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative
Phoenix (May 23, 2017) – The National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health, has provided additional funding for the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute (BAI) to complete a pioneering Alzheimer’s prevention trial in Medellin, Colombia. New funding continues crucial support to evaluate an investigational medicine in members of the world’s largest extended family who carry a rare genetic mutation making them virtually certain to develop Alzheimer’s symptoms by the average age of 44.
“We are grateful to the NIA for their continued support of our effort to find a treatment that might stop or delay Alzheimer’s before individuals afflicted by the disease show symptoms,” said Pierre N. Tariot, MD, the BAI director and one of the study leaders. “Stopping or delaying the disease before symptoms begin may be our best hope of staving off Alzheimer’s.”
The amount of the award over five years is expected to total $14.8 million. This funding will enable use of a new brain-imaging method to help assess the effects of anti-amyloid therapy and will provide a readily available public resource of data to further advance and accelerate the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. The latest funds provide additional support for the more than $100 million study that has helped launch a new era in Alzheimer’s prevention research and generate interest around the world.
The trial is designed to evaluate an investigational anti-amyloid medicine called crenezumab in people who are virtually certain to develop Alzheimer’s disease. Treatment begins before the onset of symptoms, when it might have the best chance to work, and will provide a better test of the leading Alzheimer’s theory – the amyloid hypothesis, which theorizes that accumulation of amyloid in the brain is the primary influence driving the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Announced in 2012, the study is part of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative (API), a program led by BAI to speed discovery of effective prevention therapies. API includes prevention trials in people at increased risk, large registries to promote volunteer enrollment in prevention trials, and other elements intended to conduct clinical trials in the most thoughtful, impactful way. The study capitalizes on a public-private partnership that includes BAI, the University of Antioquia in Colombia, Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, and the NIA. The last research participant was recently enrolled, and the study is expected to continue for another five years.
“The families we have been studying in Colombia understand the urgent need to find prevention therapies and are excited to be part of the fight against Alzheimer’s, a disease that has plagued their family for generations,” said Francisco Lopera, MD, another study leader and director of the Neuroscience Group at the University of Antioquia. “They appreciate what this trial might mean for them, as well as the growing number of people around the world who are at risk of developing this terrible disease.”
The additional funding will permit researchers to complete the trial in 2022. In addition, it will allow them to incorporate a newer imaging technique called tau PET to assess the effects of an anti-amyloid treatment on “tangles,” the other brain abnormality found in persons with
Alzheimer’s. Finally, it will allow them to provide a resource of data and biological samples from the trial to advance the understanding, early detection, tracking and prevention of Alzheimer’s.
“We are excited about the chance to conduct this trial and others that follow, in ways that will have the maximum public benefit,” said Eric M. Reiman, MD, executive director of BAI and the other study leader. “We now have a fighting chance to find and support the availability of Alzheimer’s prevention therapies in almost everyone who, based on their genetic background or biological tests, are at increased risk.”
Funding for this study was provided by the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R01AG055444.
About Banner Alzheimer’s Institute
Banner Alzheimer’s Institute (BAI) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the goal of ending Alzheimer’s disease without losing another generation. It is helping to launch a new era of Alzheimer’s research—detection, treatment and prevention at the pre-symptomatic stage—and to establish a comprehensive model of care that can be the national standard. BAI was founded in 2006 by Phoenix-based Banner Health, one of the country’s largest nonprofit healthcare systems. For more information, go to www.banneralz.org.
About Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative
The Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative (API) is an international collaborative formed to launch a new era of Alzheimer’s prevention research. Led by the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute, the API will conduct prevention trials in cognitively healthy people at increased genetic risk for
Alzheimer’s disease. It will continue to establish the brain imaging, biological and cognitive measurements needed to rapidly test promising prevention therapies and provide registries to support enrollment in future prevention trials. API is intended to provide the scientific means,
accelerated approval pathway and enrollment resources needed to evaluate the range of promising Alzheimer’s prevention therapies and find ones that work without losing another generation. For more information, go to www.banneralz.org.
Crenezumab is an investigational fully humanized IgG4 monoclonal antibody that binds monomeric and aggregated forms of beta amyloid proteins, with highest affinity for oligomers, the form hypothesized to mediate neurotoxicity. Crenezumab blocks beta amyloid oligomer-induced neurotoxicity and promotes oligomer removal via microglia in vitro. Crenezumab was discovered and humanized by AC Immune through its proprietary SupraAntigenTM technology and is being developed by Genentech and Roche under an exclusive licensing agreement with AC Immune.