Alzheimer’s, dementia research in Canada to get funding boost

International researchers in Toronto this week to share ideas

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Brain Canada currently funds 19 research projects in the area of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia

Alzheimer’s disease and dementia is a global research challenge that requires increased investment and multi-country collaboration. In Canada too, the situation is increasing in severity because of a rapidly aging population. Understanding, diagnosing, treating, and preventing the disease is the need of the hour.

Brain Canada is at the forefront of these efforts, leveraging matching funds provided by Health Canada to foster partnerships that strengthen and accelerate Canada’s contributions to this challenge. Brain Canada currently funds 19 research projects in the area of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia totaling over $30 million; that is 15% of the Canada Brain Research Fund which is valued at $200-million going directly towards dementia research.

In 2015, Brain Canada formed a partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association, the largest non-profit funder of Alzheimer’s research in the world, to increase funding in this area, and to achieve broader impact across the global research community. Brain Canada and the Alzheimer’s Association share the belief that supporting researchers that are pursuing novel ideas will lead to breakthroughs faster. In addition, Brain Canada’s one-system approach to the brain means that every breakthrough in Alzheimer’s and dementia carries the potential to impact other diseases which share common underlying mechanisms, such as ALS, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and Huntington’s disease.

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48 million people worldwide are living with dementia, according to estimates

The Brain Canada–Alzheimer’s Association partnership supports top-ranked Canadian researchers and their teams through the Association’s International Research Grant program. In the 2015 program, grants were awarded to Dr. Tim Storr (Simon Fraser University) and Dr. Babak Taati (Toronto Rehabilitation Institute) through the New Investigator program, and to Dr. Regina Jokel (Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care) through the Investigator-Initiated Research program; totaling $397,796 out of $2.4 million allocated to the partnership. Funding for the three research projects was split between Brain Canada and the Alzheimer’s Association.

  • Dr. Tim Storr and colleagues are examining how copper-containing amyloid oligomers affect nerve cell health and if they can be used to help detect early brain changes in Alzheimer’s.
  • Dr. Babak Taati and colleagues are using a tool they developed to assess walking patterns and stability in adults with dementia to predict the risk of falling.
  • Dr. Regina Jokel and colleagues are using a unique group-based approach to improve communication in people affected by primary progressive aphasia.

Demential research community

The Alzheimer’s Association International Conference® (AAIC) 2016, the world’s largest forum for the dementia research community, takes place from July 22 to 28 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. International investigators, clinicians and care providers will gather to share the latest study results, theories and discoveries that bring the world closer to breakthroughs in the science of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

Millions of people throughout the world eagerly await these breakthroughs. As of 2015, 48 million people worldwide are living with dementia.1 This number is forecasted to reach an estimated 76 million individuals in 2030, and will almost triple by 2050.2

“The fact that the Alzheimer’s Association selected Canada for this global event highlights the central role of our researchers and clinicians in the global effort to fight Alzheimer’s and dementia. Brain Canada is proud of our partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association, which enables Canadian researchers to collaborate with scientists in other countries. Through this partnership, Brain Canada and Health Canada are making targeted investments in an area that is of critical importance to all Canadians,” says Inez Jabalpurwala, President and CEO, Brain Canada.

“Alzheimer’s disease is a growing global health emergency – affecting all countries, all races, and people of all socioeconomic conditions – so that investment in research by global community is vitally important,” said Maria C. Carrillo, Ph.D., Alzheimer’s Association chief science officer. “Canada is a leader on that stage, and Brain Canada in particular, and we are proud to be partners with them in funding exceptionally high quality research projects in Canada.” – CNW

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