Today's Top Alzheimer's News

The search for new drug development models, Shark Tank funded Alzheimer's research, and the latest on CEOi's Big Data Challenge (read more). 

Must reads

  • A June 5, 2014 Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News article reported on developers seeking alternative drug development models focused on collaboration versus competition. According to the article, "In these new games, new players are using new models of cooperation, in which everyone can win if they work together…Cooperative initiatives include the federally funded Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI, chartered in 2010); new ecosystems of research cooperation, such as initiatives like SU2C (the American Association for Cancer Research’s Stand up to Cancer), Synodos (the Children’s Tumor Foundation dream team model named for the Greek for “on the same path”)3 and NIH’s collaborative SPORE grants; a recently announced public-private venture between pharma and nonprofits to collaborate with the NIH and FDA to pool information to find candidates for treating Alzheimer’s disease, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes;4 a growing number of research “dream teams” taking on specific cancers; real-time data-sharing infrastructures, like Sage Bionetworks’, that create information communities; and a growing number of nonprofit medical foundations moving full-tilt into drug development."
  • A June 4, 2014 Boston Globe article reported that Brigham and Women’s Hospital hosted a "Shark Tank" event to award $200,000 in research funding to Boston researchers. According to the article, "The funding competition was designed to mimic the action on “Shark Tank,” where entrepreneurs compete for funding from successful investors. In addition to providing a little entertainment, said Dr. Christine Seidman, director of the Brigham Research Institute, the goal of the event was to help raise public awareness about the Brigham’s research arm — and ultimately to secure donations from philanthropists and other sources…“We can do a lot in a year with that amount of money,” said Tracy Young-Pearse, who impressed the judges enough to win funding for work that could lead to the development of better Alzheimer’s disease treatments."
  • A June 4, 2014 Scientific American article reported that ApoE, a genetic risk factor for Alzheimer's, has been long ignored as a research target despite being identified in the early 1990s. According to the article, "Today, the function of the ApoE protein in the brain remains mostly unknown. This neglect of such a strong lead has puzzled some outside the Alzheimer's field. At a forum on brain diseases in Frankfurt, Germany, Thomas Bourgeron, an autism researcher at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, voiced his confusion. “If I had a risk factor like that, I'd be hot on its trail." But interest in the lipoprotein is picking up, in part because attempts to target amyloid-β have repeatedly disappointed in major clinical trials. Pharmaceutical companies are pulling back from amyloid-based approaches and some academics have begun to question the focus on the molecule. For the first time, researchers are developing drugs aimed at the ApoE4 protein and drawing attention from industry." 

The Big Data Challenge 

  • A June 4, 2014 Center Watch article reported on the launch of the Alzheimer's Big Data Challenge, "an effort to advance diagnostic innovation and identify new Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers through the use of open source data." According to the article, "The goal of the AD#1 challenge is to apply an open science approach to rapidly identify accurate predictive Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers that can be used by the scientific, industry and regulatory communities to improve Alzheimer’s diagnosis and treatment."

 

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