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Alzheimer's Association Awards More Than $100 Million in Research Funding; The Association is the Largest Private Funder of Alzheimer Research.

Health/Medical Writers & News Editors

LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 2, 2000

The Alzheimer's Association announced today that it has awarded research grants totaling more than $100 million since its founding 20 years ago.

As the nation's largest private funder of research -- and second only to the federal government -- the Alzheimer's Association invested a record $18.4 million in research in fiscal year 2000. The association's goal is to continue expansion of the research program until a cure is found.

"Every minute, every day, scientists learn something new about Alzheimer's disease. The momentum of research is building, fueling excitement and moving scientists closer to understanding the causes of Alzheimer's," said Peter Braun, executive director of the Alzheimer's Association of Los Angeles. "Many of today's clinical discoveries are the result of basic science research funded over the years by the Alzheimer's Association."

Since 1981, the association has identified young scientists and provided them with the funding to get started in the Alzheimer field. Scientist Dennis Selkoe, Harvard University, received funding from the Alzheimer's Association in 1983. Selkoe's research is exploring the amyloid theory of Alzheimer's disease and it is on that theory that a promising vaccine for Alzheimer's disease is based.

Other leading Alzheimer researchers like Joseph Rogers of Sun Health Research Institute, Sun City, Ariz., received funding from the Alzheimer's Association in the early 1980s and is noted for his work on the role of inflammation in Alzheimer's. Another young scientist, Marcelle Morrison-Bogorad received funding from the Alzheimer's Association in 1994.

Morrison-Bogorad now oversees the distribution of more than $350 million in public funding for Alzheimer research at the National Institute on Aging (NIA).

From basic science to social and behavioral research, the Alzheimer's Association continues to expand its portfolio of research grants designed to meet the funding needs of scientists worldwide and to spark interest in the next generation of world leaders in Alzheimer research.

This year, the Alzheimer's Association of Los Angeles' sponsored Turken Award will be presented to two local researchers. The award, which includes a check for $15,000 to each recipient, promotes Alzheimer's disease research in Los Angeles County.

Dr. Dan Silverman of the University of California at Los Angeles' Medical Center will receive the Turken Award on November 29 at UCLA for his work on PET imaging and Alzheimer's disease diagnosis.

Christian Pike, Ph.D., Assistant Professor at the University of Southern California's Andrus Gerontology Center, will receive the award for his work on the modulation of reactive astrogliosis by estrogen on December 12 at the USC.

"We are in a race against time as the baby boom population ages and the number of people with Alzheimer's disease reaches epidemic proportions," said Braun. "The Alzheimer's Association must continue to be the driving force behind much of the promising scientific breakthroughs while improving the lives of people living with the disease today as well as their families."

Currently, 4 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer's disease, a number that could reach 14 million by the year 2050 if a successful treatment or prevention is not found. Delaying the onset of Alzheimer's disease for even five years could save millions of individuals from experiencing its tragedy.

The Alzheimer's Association is the largest voluntary national health organization dedicated to conquering Alzheimer's disease through research and to providing information and support to people with Alzheimer's disease and their families. Founded in 1980, the association works through a network of local chapters across the country.

The Alzheimer's Association of Los Angeles serves more than 150,000 people with Alzheimer's disease and their families by providing a variety of programs and services. Information regarding the Alzheimer's Association of Los Angeles and available services can be obtained by calling 800/660-1993 or by visiting the Web site at www.alzla.org.

 Research Milestones

1986 -- Scientists discover the primary component of neurofibrillary
 tangles -- tau protein.
1987 -- Researchers identify an early-onset Alzheimer gene -- the
 amyloid precursor protein gene on chromosome 21.
1992 -- Another early-onset gene, presenilin 1, located on chromosome
 12, is discovered.
1993 -- The APOE-e4 gene is identified as the first known
 susceptibility gene for late-onset Alzheimer's.
1994 -- Tacrine becomes the first drug approved by the FDA for the
 treatment of Alzheimer's.
1995 -- The FDA approves a second drug, donepezil.
1998 -- The Alzheimer's Association awards its first $1 million grant,
 the Pioneer award.
1999 -- A third drug, rivastigmine, is approved by the FDA.
2000 -- The Alzheimer's Association surpasses $100 million in research
 funding.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Nov 2, 2000
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