IU Med School in on $25M Alzheimer's Initiative

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Bruce Lamb (pictured) and Paul Territo at IU School of Medicine will jointly lead the center with Gareth Howell and Greg Carter from JAX. Bruce Lamb (pictured) and Paul Territo at IU School of Medicine will jointly lead the center with Gareth Howell and Greg Carter from JAX.
INDIANAPOLIS and BARR HARBOR, Maine -

Indiana University is part of a five-year, $25 million effort to help push through a "bottleneck" of new treatments for Alzheimer's disease. The funding from the National Institute of Aging will support the new Alzheimer's Disease Precision Models Center at the IU School of Medicine in Indianapolis and the globally-recognized Jackson Laboratory in Maine.

The condition is one of the top six causes of death in the U.S., affecting an estimated five million people. IU says the center will aim to create dozens of new Alzheimer's disease models, as well as study physiology, behavior and disease relevance and ultimately, discover and test potential treatments for the disease.

IU says success rates to date for clinical trials following testing in animals have been "disappointing." Gareth Howell from Jackson Laboratory, who will co-lead the center with Greg Carter from JAX and IUSM's Bruce Lamb and Paul Territo, says "existing mouse models for Alzheimer's disease have provided important insights into aspects of Alzheimer's disease biology, but have not been great preclinical models as they do not sufficiently model the disease. Our aim is to develop animal models that more closely mimic human Alzheimer's disease and a preclinical testing pipeline through which novel therapies can be tested to greatly accelerate the process by which therapies are successfully moved forward to human Alzheimer's disease clinical trials."

Lamb is executive director of the Stark Neurosciences Research Institute at IU School of Medicine and says many genetic variants linked to the disease, but with unknown roles have been identified over the last decade. "Developing these new animal models will be key to ultimately translating those research discoveries into new Alzheimer's therapies," he said. "The goal of this partnership is to create animal models that will, on a national level, accelerate the development of effective therapies for Alzheimer’s disease."

The partners say the collaboration will build on existing strengths like IU's NIA-supported Indiana Alzheimer Disease Center, expertise in clinical drug testing and a role in the national Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. JAX is home to the NIA-supported Nathan A. Shock Center of Excellence in the Basic Biology of Aging and has worked in mammalian genetics and disease modeling for more than 80 years. The organization also provides mouse and data resources to the international biomedical research community.

The team will also include contributions from Michael Sasner and Stacey Rizzo from JAX, and Sage Bionetworks will distribute results from the initiative.

You can connect more on the center by clicking here.

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