Large NIA Award Accelerates Efforts of Cleveland Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center

$15.4M grant to fund work on atypical Alzheimer’s, Lewy body dementia and more

The National Institute on Aging has awarded a grant expected to total $15.4 million to continue funding the Cleveland Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (CADRC). The new five-year award will support the multi-institutional collaborative, which aims to accelerate research on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

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The CADRC, led by James Leverenz, MD, of Cleveland Clinic, is part of the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centers (ADRC) program, a network of researchers and clinicians at 31 NIA-funded centers at major medical institutions across the U.S. The program was formed to translate research advances into improved diagnosis and care for people with Alzheimer’s disease, as well as to find ways to treat and prevent the disease.

Building on two years of collaboration

Established in 2019, the CADRC brings together top physicians and scientists from Case Western Reserve University (CWRU), Cleveland Clinic, Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center (VA), the MetroHealth System and University Hospitals (UH).

“Over the past two years, the Cleveland Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center has created a robust infrastructure to increase the speed of research efforts aimed at better understanding why the disease varies from person to person,” says Dr. Leverenz, Director of Cleveland Clinic’s Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Cleveland. “Ultimately, our collective goal is to contribute to a more individualized treatment approach for people with aging-associated brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.”

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Since receiving initial funding in July 2019, CADRC researchers have worked together to establish the critical resources needed to run the center, including databases, faculty training programs and a large biorepository. To date, the CADRC has enrolled more than 150 research participants.

“This grant is a measure of both the accomplishments of the multiple institutions working together in the Cleveland Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and the continued need to make progress on the biology, diagnosis and treatment to improve the lives of those affected by Alzheimer’s and related disorders,” says Alan Lerner, MD, Director of the Brain Health and Memory Center at UH Cleveland Medical Center.

Well-focused efforts across a range of dementias

The CADRC supports a wide range of studies while also educating scientists, healthcare professionals and the public on the causes and treatment of dementias. It has nine core areas of focus and a research education component designed to enhance research efforts of the Alzheimer’s medical community in Northeast Ohio and add unique value to the national ADRC program and other national and international research initiatives.

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The CADRC’s Cores are led by experts across the participating institutions:

Particular areas of focus for the CADRC are the study of atypical Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy body dementia, healthy individuals at risk for developing dementia, and growing participation of historically underserved populations. In addition to community outreach, the center has developed infrastructure and support for investigators translating findings from the laboratory to new therapeutics for these devastating diseases.

Poised to make unique contributions

“Our team is advancing and applying state-of-the-art statistical and computational expertise, leveraging our extensive experience analyzing large-scale and complex Alzheimer’s disease data, and integrating ‘omics’ and clinical data across tens of thousands of lives,” notes Jonathan Haines, PhD, Chair of CWRU’s Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences. “Alzheimer’s cuts across all ethnicities and socioeconomic classes and is a huge burden in Northeast Ohio. Our diverse urban and rural population, combined with detailed genetic and clinical information and a wealth of additional data from electronic medical records, has uniquely positioned this Cleveland center to contribute significantly to the national research agenda.”