The National Institute on Aging has awarded the Indiana University School of Medicine a $7.6 million grant to study early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. IU says the grant will support what will ultimately be a $45 million research program.
The grant will help establish an infrastructure and begin recruitment for the program, which will be led by Liana Apostolova, professor of Alzheimer’s disease research at the IU School of Medicine. The university says the study aims to "better understand how people develop this rare variant of the disease.
Apostolova says about 5 percent of Alzheimer’s patients develop symptoms before age 65 and fewer than 10 percent of those patients carry known mutations for the disease. She says early-onset patients are typically excluded from clinical research and therapeutic trials because of their age or lack of memory loss.
"The data collected as part of this study will provide a definitive comparison of the clinical, psychometric, imaging, fluid biomarker and genetic similarities and differences between early-onset and late-onset Alzheimer’s disease," said Apostolova.
The study, known as Longitudinal Early-onset AD Study, or LEADS, will create a network throughout the country in which a large cohort of early-onset Alzheimer’s patients will be enrolled. The study also involves researchers from the University of California – San Francisco, Harvard University and the Alzheimer’s Association.