UCSD Receives Third Federal Grant to Research Treatments for Alzheimer’s
The University of California-San Diego, which has been involved in federally funded Alzheimer's disease research since 1991, has received a $54 million, five-year federal grant -- the largest of its kind -- to investigate whether four compounds stop "dementia, agitation and loss of function" associated with the disease, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The four compounds are statins; the vitamins folate, B6 and B12; valproate, an anti-seizure drug; and an antioxidant called indole-3-propionic acid. With the grant money, Dr. Leon Thal, head of UCSD's Alzheimer's Disease Cooperative Study, will direct research on those compounds at 83 different sites nationwide and in Canada. In addition, the grant will fund research on easier ways to "measure whether [the] drugs are working." Thal predicted that within 10 years, the research "could reduce the rate of decline in Alzheimer's patients by one-third, and delay the onset of the disease in many patients." After receiving an $18 million, five-year grant from the National Institute on Aging, a division of the NIH, in 1991, Thal and UCSD researchers determined that vitamin E slowed Alzheimer's progression. With a $27 million five-year federal grant awarded in 1996, the university was able to launch a long-term trial of vitamin E and the medication Aricept (Clark, San Diego Union-Tribune, 9/20).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.