Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, claiming more lives than breast and prostate cancer combined. Scores of clinical trials have failed to identify an effective treatment, making Alzheimer’s the only cause of death in the top 10 with no known cure.
Recent investments and achievements have bolstered Brown University’s strength in Alzheimer’s disease and neurodegeneration. The Carney Institute for Brain Science is committed to capitalizing on this foundation to catalyze discovery into these debilitating diseases and speed the race to treatments. The institute brings together faculty from more than 20 academic and clinical units within Brown and multiple affiliated hospitals, including Rhode Island Hospital, Butler Hospital and Miriam Hospital.
Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases require collaborative thinking across disciplines in both basic and clinical research to generate the knowledge we need to advance prevention, treatments and cures. Read below for examples of ongoing Alzheimer’s research projects.
Blood tests: A game changer for Alzheimer’s disease
Promising blood tests are in development to improve diagnosis and accelerate testing of new treatments in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Brown is establishing a new fluid biomarker laboratory — in collaboration with world experts from Sweden, Dr. Henrik Zetterberg and Dr. Oskar Hansson — to serve the University's research community. The facility will perform existing biomarker assays, such as amyloid, tau and markers of neurodegeneration, and search for new biomarkers. This facility will transform research at Brown, serving as a bridge between clinical studies on dementia and foundational research uncovering the mechanisms underlying these devastating conditions. The facility will focus on biomarkers in cerebrospinal fluid and blood, ultimately striving for blood-based biomarker assays that robustly diagnose disease, distinguish among different forms of dementia, and can be performed for low cost in any clinical laboratory.