LuMind™ Research Down Syndrome Foundation (LuMind RDS) — formerly the Down Syndrome and Treatment Foundation and Research Down Syndrome — advances Down syndrome (Ds) cognition and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) research with $1,615,000 in funding awards for seven new research grants in 2017. Since 2004, LuMind RDS has raised more than $15 million and funded research that in a short time by scientific standards has answered fundamental scientific questions about Down syndrome and advanced to clinical trials. The latest grant recipients are researchers at
- Johns Hopkins School of Medicine — A Down Syndrome Center for Fundamental Research-Cognition;
- Emory University School of Medicine — The Down Syndrome Cognition Project;
- University of California San Diego School of Medicine — Defining genes, mechanisms, and treatments for neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative causes of cognitive dysfunction in Down syndrome;
- University of Arizona — Brain development, sleep and learning in Down syndrome;
- Stanford University — Sleep, Circadian, and Stem Cell Renewal Factors in the Learning Disability of Down Syndrome;
- Palo Alto Veterans Research Institute/VA Palo Alto Health Care System — Improving Beta-Adrenergic Signaling for the Treatment of Cognitive Dysfunction in Down Syndrome; and
- AC Immune, a biopharmaceutical company — A Phase Ib Multi-Center, Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Dose-Escalation Study of the Safety, Tolerability and Immunogenicity of ACI-24 in Adults with Down Syndrome.
These new grants include an award for the first major clinical trial by a pharmaceutical company — AC Immune — of a novel anti-amyloid therapeutic agent targeting earlier-onset Alzheimer’s disease specifically in individuals with Down syndrome. The 2016-2017 LuMind RDS grant recipients are also exploring new research areas and build upon previous studies that have led to the pursuit of 10 brand-new potential drug targets for improving learning, memory, and speech in people with Ds. One investigation is aiming to further validate a new Ds-specific cognitive measurement battery and to define how sleep disturbances impact cognitive development and impairment trajectories in individuals with Ds and may lead to new evidence-based therapeutic strategies. Another investigation is collecting cognitive, behavior, and medical data from individuals with Ds and their families along with biological samples deposited in an associated biorepository that establish the resource for the new large-scale international DS360 project documenting and correlating the many phenotype/genotype variations of Ds. Families of loved ones with Down syndrome can support this research by signing up for DS-Connect®, the Down syndrome health registry.
“Ultimately, we want this research to produce therapy opportunities for children and adults with Down syndrome that help them participate more successfully in school and work and delay the earlier onset of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) so they can live and with greater independence,” said Dr. Michael Harpold, LuMind RDS Foundation’s Chief Scientific Officer and Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board, “Many people with Ds begin showing characteristic signs of Alzheimer’s disease in their 40s. Recent and ongoing research progress underscores the hope of providing preventive treatments in those with Down syndrome that may also benefit anyone facing Alzheimer’s disease. We are always fundraising to increase the awards and fund the many more innovative research opportunities that have the potential for effective therapies.” To learn more about the individual grant financial distributions and research summaries and how to get involved, take a look at the Grant Hub section of www.LuMindRDS.org.
“Today, with the generous financial support from major donors, the Ds community, and the pharma community we are excited to support these innovative and highly productive investigators and their critically important lines of research that significantly accelerate discovery in basic science, which leads to clinical opportunities for new therapies that will translate to medical practice and the opportunity for meaningful improvement in cognitive function for people with Down syndrome,” continues Dr. Harpold, “LuMind is the link that connects the Down syndrome and scientific communities to create solutions and opportunities. Our principal role is to increase the funding base, identify and stimulate the research that will yield meaningful outcomes, and advocate on behalf of this community to engage public agencies like the NIH and the pharma private sector to deliver effective therapy options.”