|Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Study Launched Nationwide
by the National Institutes of Health
Dr. Maya Angelou Asks Adults Ages 55 - 90 to Join Study
The Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) — a project developed
by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) — is seeking 800 older adults
to participate in a study aimed at identifying biological markers of memory decline
and Alzheimer's disease (AD). Ultimately, scientists hope that brain and biological
changes can be detected before memory decline and other symptoms appear, allowing
the effectiveness of drugs to be evaluated at the earliest possible time.
The $60 million, 5-year ADNI study is the most comprehensive effort to date
to identify brain and other biological changes associated with memory decline.
The project was begun by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and is supported
by more than a dozen other federal agencies and private-sector companies and
organizations. Investigators at 58 local study sites across the U.S. and Canada
will be asking people ages 55 to 90 to become a part of this landmark research.
An estimated 4.5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease and that number
is expected to grow as the population ages. “Finding therapies for and ways of
preventing Alzheimer's disease is critically important,” says NIH Director Elias
A. Zerhouni, M.D. “This extraordinary partnership is a major effort by the National
Institutes of Health and the private sector to employ advanced technologies to
detect memory decline and develop new drugs that can make a difference.”
"We encourage people to participate in this important study because it will
help us to identify needed biological markers of memory decline and Alzheimer's
disease. These biomarkers could become comparable to the cholesterol measures
now used as biomarkers for heart disease," says Susan Molchan, M.D., program
director for the ADNI project at the NIA. "In addition, using what we learn from
the brain scans and other tests, we hope to lessen the time and cost of testing
drugs and to bring treatments to patients much sooner."
Scientists are looking for new ways to measure changes in the brain that occur
with normal aging and with the progression of mild cognitive impairment (MCI),
a subtle but measurable transitional state between the cognitive changes of normal
aging and very early AD. People with MCI have memory impairments but otherwise
function well and do not meet clinical criteria for dementia.
The ADNI researchers will employ serial magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); positron
emission tomography (PET) scans; measurement of various biological compounds
in blood, cerebrospinal fluid, and urine; and clinical and neuropsychological
assessments to track MCI and early AD progression. MRI and PET scans are used
in both medical practice and research to produce images of the brain. The study's
principal investigator (PI) is neuroimaging expert Michael W. Weiner, M.D., of
the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the University of California,
San Francisco. The Northern California Institute for Research and Education,
a foundation affiliated with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, has been
awarded the multi-center ADNI grant.
Weiner explains that the 800 adults ages 55 to 90 sought for the study will
be divided into three groups — approximately 200 cognitively normal older people
will be followed for 3 years, 400 people with MCI will be followed for 3 years,
and 200 people with early AD will be followed for 2 years. At the end of the
study, the researchers will compare neuroimaging, biological, and clinical information
from the participants, looking for correlations among the data to develop standards
for tracking the progression of memory decline. A unique feature of the project
is the development of an imaging and biomarker database that can be tapped by
researchers in both the public and private sectors as they develop and test drugs
for memory decline.
"Our goal is to 'see' critical brain changes and to identify biochemical indicators
that may be useful in evaluating treatments aimed at slowing memory decline and
AD," explains Weiner.
A special aspect of the project is the support of Dr. Maya Angelou, the eminent
poet, author, educator, and historian. Dr. Angelou, a professor at Wake Forest
University in Winston-Salem, NC, is working with the researchers to ask the public
to take part in the study through the national ADNI recruitment outreach campaign, "Imagine
Stopping the Progression of Alzheimer's Disease," in which she will appear in
radio and print public service announcements. She has a number of dear friends
who have suffered the effects of AD.
ADNI is the largest public-private partnership on brain research underway at
the NIH, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). In addition to
the NIA, the Federal ADNI partners are the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging
and Bioengineering, also part of NIH, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration,
another DHHS agency.
Partnership with private-sector funders is managed through the not-for-profit
Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, established by the U.S. Congress
to support NIH's mission by facilitating private-sector organizations' support
of and involvement with NIH programs. Corporate and non-profit participants are:
Pfizer Inc; Wyeth Research; Bristol-Myers Squibb; Eli Lilly and Company; GlaxoSmithKline;
Merck & Co., Inc.; AstraZeneca AB; Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation; Eisai
Global Clinical Development; the Alzheimer's Association; Elan Corporation, plc;
and the Institute for the Study of Aging. (More information on the Foundation
for NIH is available at: www.fnih.org.)
Siemens, Philips, and General Electric, the three primary companies that develop
and manufacture imaging equipment, are providing software support for the imaging
aspects of the project.
Other investigators for the project are Leon Thal, M.D., University of California
at San Diego, (Coordinating Center), Ronald Petersen, M.D., Ph.D., of the Mayo
Clinic, Rochester, MN (Clinical Aspects), Clifford Jack, M.D., Mayo Clinic (Neuroimaging/MRI
Core); William Jagust, M.D., University of California, Berkeley (Neuroimaging/PET
Core); John Q. Trojanowski, M.D., Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania (Biomarker
Core); Arthur W. Toga, Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles (Bioinformatics
Core); and Laurel Beckett, Ph.D., University of California, Davis (Biostatistics
Core). In addition, there are investigators at all of the study sites throughout
the United States and Canada.
The public can find out more about participating in the research and obtain
a list of study sites by contacting the NIA's Alzheimer's Disease Education and
Referral (ADEAR) Center at 1-800-438-4380 or by visiting the ADNI section of
the ADEAR website: www.alzheimers.org/imagine.
Those interested in participating in the project are encouraged to contact the
study site closest to them. Spanish-language capabilities are available at some
of the study sites.
The NIA leads the Federal effort in research on AD and age-related cognitive
change. For more information on participation in a number of clinical studies
on AD, visit www.clinicaltrials.gov (search for "Alzheimer's disease" trials)
or the ADEAR Center website at www.alzheimers.org,
or contact ADEAR toll free at 1-800-438-4380. The ADEAR Center also provides
information to the public and health care professionals about AD and age-related
To contact Dr. Susan Molchan: Call Linda Joy or Vicky Cahan, NIA Office of Communications
and Public Liaison, 301-496-1752.
To contact the ADNI investigators:
Dr. Michael Weiner - Call Steve Tokar, (415) 221-4810, ext. 5202
Dr. Leon Thal - Call Debra Kain, (619) 543-6163
Dr. Ronald Petersen - Call Lisa Lucier, (507) 538-0844
To contact the private partners: Call Charles Pucie at the Foundation for the
National Institutes of Health, (301) 402-5311.
B-roll and sound bites related to the study will be fed on AMC4 / (c) 17 (dl4140H)
on February 14, 2006, from 14:00-14:30 EST and again on IA5 / 19 (c) (dl4080V)
on February 15, 2006, from 13:30-14:00 EST. If you miss the feed and need a hard
copy, please contact Amy Lange at 202-745-5100 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's Medical Research
Agency — includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of
the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary Federal
agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical
research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common
and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov.