Grant Portfolio Overview
Since 1998, the ADDF and its affiliate, ISOA, have joined the search for new drugs for Alzheimer’s disease in our effort to fill a niche in the drug discovery process. Newly approved drugs generally come from the pharmaceutical industry, although early stage research may be initiated in academia or biotechnology companies. Despite pharmaceutical companies spending an estimated $330 billion in research and development for all indications since 1998, only four modestly effective new symptomatic agents have been approved for AD through this avenue. Indeed, of 70 compounds for AD currently in clinical trials, only half are being developed by industry.
During this same period, approximately $2.5 billion has been provided by the US government in direct support of AD research, and an estimated $260 million provided by nonprofit foundations, not including nearly $33 million in funds contributed by the ADDF/ISOA. Our monies have contributed to 240 unique research programs over ten years.
Drug discovery is the process by which new drugs are created and developed. Unlike basic research which seeks to better understand the underlying causes of disease, the drug discovery process involves several distinct steps such as the screening of large numbers of small molecules in biological assays to identifying active compounds, optimizing their activity through medicinal chemistry, testing them in the laboratory and animal models, and proceeding to human clinical trials.
The rigorous drug development process nets promising candidates, and does so in a targeted and effective way. This exacting scientific process is discussed in the Drug Development Tutorial which you can download here.
Review our list of scientists conducting Drug Discovery Research here.
Clinical trials determine if a promising Alzheimer’s disease treatment is safe and effective for patients, and can be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Clinical trials may evaluate drugs already approved for other diseases to assess if they can be effectively used for treating AD. Clinical trials also evaluate experimental drugs derived from drug discovery to determine if they improve cognitive function, lessen symptoms, or slow or prevent disease progression in humans.
The ADDF does not recommend one particular clinical trial or research program over another. The ADDF is not responsible for the accuracy of the information provided, the selection of research subjects (patients) or for the conduct of the clinical trial, treatment IND/expanded access program or other research program.
Review our list of funded clinical research scientists here.
Prevention is the activity which reduces the burden of mortality or morbidity from disease, and can be primary, secondary, or tertiary depending at what point it is introduced in the disease process.
- Primary: prevents the clinical development of disease. Health promotion activities are primary prevention, and in AD take the form of lifestyle interventions and disease modifying drugs to prevent clinical onset of cognitive impairment and dementia.
- Secondary: seeks to slow the progression of disease in its earliest stages. In AD, researchers are seeking drugs to prevent or halt the progression of disease while individuals are still functional.
- Tertiary: decreases the harmful consequences of an established disease by restoring function and reducing disease-related complications. In AD, care management is employed to ameliorate complications such as functional impairment, pneumonia, and other infections.
Review our list of funded prevention researchers here.
Early detection strategies focus on identifying either the earliest pathological expression of disease before clinical signs appear or detecting the first clinical signs of disease. Screening tests can be conducted without full clinical presentation of disease. In some cases, surrogate markers can be employed for early detection when their presence is clearly associated with a disease. For example, high cholesterol is a surrogate marker for early detection of heart disease. In AD, neuroimaging may detect disease in the brain years before cognitive loss is apparent. The value of early detection results in the use of drugs and lifestyle interventions to slow or prevent the onset of disease in its earliest stages.
Review our list of funded scientists conducting research into early detection here.
Conferences on AD drug discovery and issues relating to the disease build value by encouraging real-time information exchange and thus multiplying the effect of expert knowledge in the field. The ADDF and its affiliate, the ISOA, encourage this collegial environment in the interest of more rapidly disseminating important information. Our conferences create an atmosphere where research is celebrated and assumptions challenged, leading to accelerated progress in the fields of AD and cognitive aging.
Review our list of funded conferences here.
ADDF Partnership Programs
The ADDF joins with other organizations in efforts and initiatives to advance science. Partnership programs combine the resources of the ADDF with those of other organizations to provide significant funding in areas of mutual interest.
Review our list of partnership programs here.