The National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Aging has awarded the Boston University Alzheimer’s Disease Center (BU ADC) a three-year, $5.4 million grant to continue research on ways to reduce the human and economic costs of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) through the advancement of knowledge.
Established in 1996, the BU ADC is one of two NIH-funded Alzheimer’s Disease Centers in Massachusetts and 32 in the country to advance research on the disease and its related conditions, which includes Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).
Dozens of BU ADC researchers are looking for tests that could lead to early diagnosis and interventions to prevent or delay the disease, running clinical trials that may result in treatments and an eventual cure, working to understand genetic risk factors and studying Alzheimer’s impact on caregivers. In addition, the BU ADC serves as a resource for patients and their families as well as offering free educational events for the community.
Neil Kowall, MD, is the principal investigator and director and also leads the ADC’s Administrative Core. He is a professor of neurology and pathology at BUSM and chief of neurology at the VA Boston Healthcare System.
“We are indebted to the NIH for their ongoing support. Their continued sponsorship has helped our researchers and clinicians undertake and further their research and educational mission by taking crucial steps forward to combat this disease,” said Kowall.
Jointly based at the Boston University Medical Campus and the VA Boston Healthcare System in Massachusetts, the BU ADC began researching CTE in 2008, which has led to innovative research on repetitive brain trauma in athletes and military personnel.
AD attacks the brain’s nerve cells, causing memory loss, behavioral changes, confusion and deterioration of language skills. It affects more than five million Americans 65 and older, and that is expected to increase to 13.8 million by 2050 unless science finds a treatment. AD and other forms of dementia are projected to cost the nation $236 billion this year and the figure could reach $1 trillion by 2050, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.