The National Institute on Aging has awarded a $15 million grant to the Stanford Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. The award is a five-year renewal of a $7.3 million grant the institute provided to the center in 2015.
More than 50 faculty and staff led by director Victor Henderson, MD, professor of health research and policy and of neurology and neurological sciences, and associate director Katrin Andreasson, MD, professor of neurology and neurological sciences, conduct research on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases and related disorders.
Stanford’s Alzheimer’s center is one of about 30 such centers at major medical institutions across the United States that are funded by the National Institutes of Health and that translate research into improved diagnosis, treatment, prevention and care for people with Alzheimer’s and similar cognitive disorders.
More than 5 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and as many as 1 million from Parkinson’s disease, making these the two most common neurodegenerative disorders nationwide. The prevalence of both conditions is increasing rapidly.
“We’ve recruited and enrolled a group of over 400 dedicated volunteers with Alzheimer’s disease, mild cognitive impairment, Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia, as well as healthy older adults without cognitive or motor impairment,” Henderson said. “They have generously consented to in-person assessments, provided biological specimens for research, undergone brain scans and considered brain donation at the time of death.”
In recent years, these research subjects have helped Tony Wyss-Coray, PhD, the D.H. Chen Professor in neurology and neurological sciences, and his colleagues identify immune cells in the blood and cerebrospinal fluid specifically associated with Alzheimer’s disease. They have also supported work by Greg Zaharchuk, MD, PhD, professor of radiology, and his colleagues aimed at detecting amyloid plaques in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients using much lower radiation doses than in the past.
While the major source of funding for Stanford’s Alzheimer’s center is the National Institutes of Health, it is also supported by the School of Medicine, Department of Neurology and Stanford Health Care.