INDIANAPOLIS–Indiana University School of Medicine is pleased to announce its Indiana Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (IADRC) grant has been renewed for another five years. The funding from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is expected to total $15 million. The IADRC, established in 1991, is among the earliest NIA-sponsored Alzheimer’s disease (AD) research centers in the country.
The additional funding will be used to support, enhance and expand innovative research by targeting causes, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.
“Almost everyone knows someone affected by Alzheimer’s disease. It’s common. It’s disabling. It ultimately robs individuals of quality of life,” said Andrew Saykin, PsyD, director of the IADRC, director of the Indiana University Center for Neuroimaging and Raymond C. Beeler Professor of Radiology. “Early detection of the disease is critical, and we use advanced neuroimaging, blood biomarkers, genetics, cognitive tests and other tools to assess risk and detect changes before a person becomes symptomatic. Recent evidence has shown that some biological changes can be detected about 20 years prior to dementia onset, which presents a real window of opportunity for interventions to slow and ultimately prevent AD.”
The overall mission of the Center is to support local, regional, national and international research efforts in service of the United States National Plan for Alzheimer’s Disease to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias by 2025.
“Our core, scientific theme is the development of precision medicine for Alzheimer’s and related disorders. This means identifying the optimal, personalized treatment for a given patient and timing the intervention for maximal benefit. We are developing the knowledge base to support this approach using all of the tools from basic science, clinical research and the data sciences including network analysis and artificial intelligence,” said Saykin.
In pursuit of its goals, the IADRC has become a hub of deep AD-related research activities at IU, which continues to grow rapidly. The IADRC has strong collaborative connections with the Stark Neurosciences Research Institute and the Medical Neuroscience PhD Program, which are both located in the Indiana University Health Neuroscience Center along with the majority of IADRC faculty.
The IADRC also works closely with the National Centralized Repository for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias (NCRAD) and Model Organism Development and Evaluation for Late-Onset AD (MODEL-AD) Consortium, which is working to provide the next generation of animal models for late-onset AD that best mirrors human disease. In addition, the Center partners with the recently established IU/Purdue Target Enablement to Accelerate Therapy Development for Alzheimer’s Disease (TREAT-AD) Consortium, one of only two such NIA AD Drug Discovery Centers funded nationally in 2019. Other collaborations extend throughout the U.S. and abroad, including a recently announced $11 million grant establishing a major partnership with the Korean Brain Aging Study for the Early Diagnosis and Prediction of Alzheimer’s Disease (KBASE) in South Korea.
“These collaborations all help to accelerate progress by contributing complementary expertise and resources, including an advanced biorepository, preclinical testing models, drug discovery research and multiethnic genomic and neuroimaging data. This combination makes IU an ideal environment for developing new insights, potential therapies and innovative prevention strategies,” said Saykin.
Another critically important aspect of the IADRC is its community advisory board.
“The board is made up of highly-committed leaders who have devoted countless hours to raising awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and have greatly aided the Center with the recruitment of a more diverse group of older adults for studies of aging and memory,” said Saykin. “Recruiting study participants from underrepresented groups and training a more diverse next generation of scientists and clinicians are important objectives of the Center.
Over the last NIA funding period, the IADRC is credited with several major accomplishments:
- IADRC data, biospecimens and intellectual resources have supported an extensive portfolio of internal and external projects, including 129 federal grants and 37 nonfederal grants, which have advanced our understanding of AD and other related dementias.
- Support of 11 training grants, which provided individual research training opportunities to junior-level trainees in both basic and clinical research.
- Contributed to the publication of 442 research papers, including 81 publications in high-impact scientific journals.
- Supported 41 therapeutic trials, which helped advance research for improved diagnosis and treatment for those with AD and other types of dementia.
- Provided AD-mentored research opportunities to over 100 trainees from more than a dozen disciplines and departments across IU School of Medicine’s campuses in pursuit of different approaches to treatment, causes and prevention of AD.
- Provided 1,255 blood samples to National Centralized Repository for Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias in support of AD and related dementia researchers around the world.
- Supported imaging of research participants, including 344 advanced MRI scans, 218 amyloid and 162 tau PET scans, allowing collaboration on multiple imaging genetics’ studies that employ advanced machine learning strategies for identification of novel genetic associations in AD.
- Supported genome sequencing on nearly 300 AD research participants, which provided new insights into the genetic architecture of AD.
- Established 30 community partnerships, 12 of which are focused on underrepresented minorities to help ensure diverse representation and participation in AD research.
- Utilized both in-person and virtual outreach approaches for recruitment of patients and participants into research studies, including in-person recruitment events at community programs, health fairs and virtual outreach via social media and newsletters.
The IADRC is funded by NIH grant P30 AG072976-01. IU School of Medicine is highly committed to innovative research that will expedite the discovery and development of novel therapeutic targets for Alzheimer's disease.
###IU School of Medicine is the largest medical school in the U.S. and is annually ranked among the top medical schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. The school offers high-quality medical education, access to leading medical research and rich campus life in nine Indiana cities, including rural and urban locations consistently recognized for livability.