Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has received nearly $4.2 million from the Alzheimer’s Association to accelerate the launch of the first clinical trials to prevent the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
The award is the largest research grant in the history of the 32-year-old association.
Randall Bateman, MD, principal investigator of the grant and director of the Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer’s Network (DIAN) Therapeutic Trials Unit at Washington University, will lead the trials, which will determine if the disease can be halted or delayed before problems in memory and other brain functions become apparent.
The research will be conducted through the DIAN, an international research partnership focused on understanding inherited forms of Alzheimer’s. DIAN is headed by John C. Morris, MD, Harvey A. and Dorismae Hacker Friedman Professor of Neurology at Washington University School of Medicine. Bateman and Morris treat patients at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.
“We’re grateful for the Alzheimer’s Association’s support for these trials and for the generous support it has given us throughout the long journey that has led to them,” Morris says. “We’ve been working for years to find a way to treat Alzheimer’s disease before patients develop dementia, and it’s very exciting to be making plans to start the first of such trials later this year.”
“This project has the potential to dramatically accelerate the pace of treatment and prevention strategies for Alzheimer’s,” said William Thies, PhD, the Alzheimer’s Association’s chief medical and scientific officer. “We are convinced that helping to rapidly launch the DIAN-Therapeutic Trials Unit will accelerate discovery of therapies that will change the course of the Alzheimer’s disease process and delay or stop the disease.”
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