BETHESDA, MD, Sept. 8, 2016 -- The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) announces that patient advocacy groups, private foundations, companies and individual donors have again united in the fight against Alzheimer's disease by donating more than $14 million to launch the third phase of the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI3). Now in its 12th year, this public-private partnership with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has profoundly influenced the understanding of Alzheimer's disease by identifying and validating biological markers (biomarkers) that signal its onset and progression. Current supporters of ADNI3 are AbbVie, Alzheimer's Association, Bioclinica, Biogen, Cogstate, DiamiR Biosciences, Eisai, Genentech (a member of the Roche Group), Janssen R&D, LLC, Lundbeck, Merck & Company, Inc., PeopleBio, Inc., Pfizer, Inc., Roche, Servier and Takeda. The FNIH anticipates raising a total of $20 million to fund the project.
"More than five million Americans over age 65 are living with Alzheimer's disease today, and that number is set to triple in just over a generation," said Maria Carrillo, Ph.D., Alzheimer's Association Chief Science Officer. "Research is the most powerful weapon in this fight. We've been with ADNI since its inception, brought brain amyloid imaging into the study and the Association is eager to support these breakthrough partnerships. By working together, we can go further, faster, toward our ultimate vision of a world without Alzheimer's disease."
The study is led by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), with support from the FNIH and more than 30 organizations since its launch in 2004. ADNI tracks volunteers at 60 clinical sites in the United States and Canada with normal cognition, mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease to create a widely-available database of imaging, biochemical and genetic data. Qualified researchers worldwide can quickly access valuable data that lay the groundwork for Alzheimer's discoveries. The extension of ADNI for the next five years will build on the success of its initial phases, confirming the utility of biomarkers that can help improve clinical trial design and support drug development.
"Promoting biomedical research, especially for a complex disease like Alzheimer's, requires the resources and expertise of many partners in both the public and private sectors working together toward a common goal," said Steve Paul M.D., FNIH Chairman. "The FNIH is pleased to continue facilitating the commitments of ADNI partners as we work together to fast-track scientific progress that will eventually lead to effective treatments for this all-to-common and devastating disease."
Additions to the third phase of ADNI include recruiting 1,200 volunteers to join about 800 current participants to enrich the existing dataset, using state-of-the-art imaging techniques to monitor brain levels of tau, a protein that is often abnormal in Alzheimer's patients, and performing cutting-edge analyses to assess complex interactions between the brain and body. ADNI3 also will assess cognitive function through computer tests at home and in the doctor's office and measure changes in subjects' ability to handle money, which can be a warning sign of the disease.
ADNI has already significantly advanced several aspects of Alzheimer's disease research. By standardizing technologies and protocols, it has improved clinical trial design and the understanding of the disease and its progression. Furthermore, ADNI's open-access data policy continues to be a model of successful data sharing in a pre-competitive environment. ADNI data have been downloaded for research purposes more than 11 million times and scientists have used them to publish more than 1,200 scientific papers.
"We are thrilled to embark on this next phase of discovery, enhanced by sophisticated new technologies and computational methods that we could only dream about when we launched the study," said Michael Weiner, M.D., study Principal Investigator, San Francisco Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the University of California, San Francisco. "ADNI has made a profound difference in clinical trials, developing and refining the biomarker tools needed to see Alzheimer's-related brain changes in the living brain--even in people free of symptoms. ADNI3 will play an even more influential role as these biomarkers are enlisted in the search for treatments for this devastating disorder."
The NIH plans to invest an estimated $40 million in ADNI3, in addition to private sector support through the FNIH. Beyond raising funds to support the study, the FNIH coordinates the scientific engagement of private partners, creating a pre-competitive forum where they can participate in study-related scientific exchanges. To learn more about the ADNI3 study and funding opportunities, visit fnih.org/adni3.
About the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health
The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health creates and manages alliances with public and private institutions in support of the mission of the NIH, the world's premier medical research agency. The Foundation, also known as the FNIH, works with its partners to accelerate biomedical research and strategies against diseases and health concerns in the United States and across the globe. The FNIH organizes and administers research projects; supports education and training of new researchers; organizes educational events and symposia; and administers a series of funds supporting a wide range of health issues. Established by Congress in 1990, the FNIH is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization. For additional information about the FNIH, please visit fnih.org.