A 5-year, projected $10.8 million award from the National Institute on Aging will help launch the Coordinating Center for Genetics and Genomics of Alzheimer’s Disease, a collaboration between the University of Pennsylvania, Boston University, Case Western Reserve University, Columbia University, University of Miami and the University of Indiana.
The center will be led by Gerard D. Schellenberg, PhD, and Li-San Wang, PhD, of the pathology and laboratory medicine department at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania.
“By coordinating the identification of Alzheimer's-related genes, the center's team aims to find new therapeutic targets to reduce the economic and human burden caused by this disease,” Schellenberg said in a press release. “This is an exciting opportunity to apply new technologies to improve our understanding of the biological pathways underlying this devastating disease. The new center will stimulate collaborations between hundreds of U.S. and international Alzheimer's genetics researchers by aggregating and analyzing very large data sets and sharing the results. This type of global interaction is needed if we are to make progress in solving this devastating illness.”
Center collaborators will collect and match available Alzheimer’s disease genetics and associated physiological data into a database. This will help maximize statistical power in therapeutic target research.
The center will also collect data from other non-NIA-funded studies, reformat it into a consistent style and add it to the database housed at the NIA Genetics of Alzheimer’s Disease Data Storage Site.
“Data-sharing and collaboration among cutting-edge research teams is key to advancing our understanding of complex genetic underpinnings of Alzheimer's and related dementias,” Richard Hodes, MD, director of the NIA, said in the release. “This new center will play an important role in achieving our nation's ultimate research goal, outlined under the National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease, to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer's disease by 2025.”