Arizona State University
ASU encourages its faculty and students to engage in research and other activities that will impact society. Clearly, Alzheimer’s disease represents a devastating disease at a personal level, and one that is expected to have an increasing effect on the U.S. health care system and economy as the overall life expectancy for Americans increases. Among the research projects currently being pursued by ASU faculty members with potential to impact Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers are the following:
- A preventive vaccine for Alzheimer’s
- Effects of hormone replacement therapy on memory and the brain
- Self-care strategies for caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients
- Therapeutic antibodies directed against brain plaques
- Improvements in brain imaging technologies
- The latest information on clinical care
- Effects of aromatherapy to promote sleep in people with dementia
Banner Alzheimer’s Institute
Banner Alzheimer’s Institute operates a Memory Disorders Clinic staffed by memory loss specialists who employ a multidisciplinary approach to diagnose and treat Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. The Clinic staff is supported by a team of nurses and social workers who meet the non-medical needs of patients and caregivers by providing disease education, resource referrals, strategies for dealing with communication and behavioral issues, and tips for successful day-to-day living. In addition to its clinical services, Banner Alzheimer’s Institute is a recognized leader in Alzheimer’s research, with ongoing studies in the areas of brain imaging, clinical trials and genomics. As part of the Arizona Alzheimer’s Consortium, Banner Alzheimer’s Institute provides:
- A care model dedicated to meeting the medical and non-medical needs of patients and their care partners
- Pioneering brain imaging research focused on tracking the development of Alzheimer’s disease before the onset of symptoms, and testing the effectiveness of potential prevention therapies
- A diverse portfolio of clinical research opportunities for qualifying participants who wish to participate in clinical trials of experimental treatments
- Collaboration with the Translational Genomics Research Institute to evaluate the role of genes in the development, progression, and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease
Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center
The Cognitive Disorders Program at Barrow uses a mutlidisciplinary approach to assess and treat patients with disorders related to memory loss, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive problems. Barrow patients have access to a variety of clinical trials and medications while family members can utilize the hospital’s educational resources and support services. St. Joseph’s also operates the Huger Mercy Living Care Center, a 48-bed dementia care program in a homelike setting with around-the-clock-care. As part of the Arizona Alzheimer’s Consortium, Barrow provides:
- Sophisticated imaging and technology and expertise in functional and structural neuroimaging
- Outreach programs and educational opportunities to the community, particularly minority groups
- Basic and translational research leadership in the areas of normal and advanced aging
- Access to a large volume of neurological patients with varying diagnoses and demographic characteristics
Mayo Clinic is at the forefront of clinical practice and research in Alzheimer’s disease, offering a multi-disciplinary approach that involves a comprehensive evaluation of the patient’s disease and associated symptoms. Patients are treated by Mayo Clinic physicians with extensive experience in the diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, including neurologists, neuropsychologists, neuroradiologists,psychiatrists, sleep medicine and physical medicine specialists.
Treatment programs are tailored to each individual patient and take into account the patient’s and family’s needs while providing state-of-the-art care and access to new developments and appropriate clinical trials. As part of the Arizona Alzheimer’s Consortium, Mayo Clinic provides:
- Leadership in clinical neurology and patient care
- Expertise in cognitive assessment of patients
- Opportunities for patient and community participation in clinical and basic research
Banner Sun Health Research Institute
The institute now known as Banner Sun Health Research Institute was started in 1986 by its founding president and senior scientist Joseph Rogers PhD, who believed Sun City was exactly the right place to establish a world-class research center dedicated to diseases of aging.
With more than 100,000 residents over the age of 65 in the Sun City area, the community has offered a wealth of resources for researchers interested in aging.
The community also helped through charitable contributions as well as volunteering and participating in clinical studies and tissue donations.
In 1987, the institute began its tissue bank, which now sends samples to researchers around the world. More than 3,000 people have enrolled as donors and over 1400 have come to autopsy. The brain and body donation program is the pathology core for the Arizona Alzheimer’s Consortium.
Banner Sun Health Research Institute researchers have contributed greatly to better understanding of Alzheimer’s, inflammation and general age-related disorders. Their achievements include:
- Research on inflammation damage to brain tissue and how that affects Alzheimer’s disease
- Studies that medications that lower cholesterol may be an effective treatment for Alzheimer’s
- A novel pathological staging system for Lewy Body disorders
- Studies on the influence of cerebrovascular and cardiovascular circulation on AD pathogenesis and clinical course
- Studies of developing cardiac stem cells as a means of treating congestive heart failure
- Translational science with direct applicability from bench to bedside
- Multiple labs working on biomarkers for AD including BACE, CR1, epigenetic markers, sRAGE, and tau
- Clinical and imaging trials in Alzheimer’s disease
Translational Genomics Research Institute
TGen’s Alzheimer’s research program uses state-of-the-art techniques that are able to pin point single cell differences or “gene expressions” in which allows the researchers to identify novel or unique genes and pathways that contribute to the development and progression of this tragic disorder.
TGen, in conjunction with other leaders in Alzheimer’s genetics research, like the Arizona Alzheimer’s Disease Consortium, has undertaken a large collaborative effort to identify every genetic variation that results in increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease. By scanning the genome of thousands of individuals both with and without the disease, TGen hopes to identify the genetic differences or variants that contribute a significant increased risk for developing the disease. These genetic variants can be used to provide new information about the causes of Alzheimer’s and as a diagnostic tool to determine an individual’s inherent genetic risk for the disorder.
University of Arizona
- As one of the nation’s leading research universities, The University of Arizona contributes to the goal of a world without Alzheimer’s disease by:
- Providing leadership in brain imaging research
- Providing leadership in basic brain, memory, and aging research
- Providing leadership in the Arizona Alzheimer’s Consortium education and outreach priorities
- Providing opportunities for community participation in basic research and testing new treatments
- Providing diagnostic and treatment services through its Alzheimer’s and Behavioral Neurology Clinic and its Memory Disorders Clinic