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NIH Offers $5M for Biomarker Studies of Alzheimer's Progression in Down Syndrome

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The National Institutes of Health will award up to $5 million next fiscal year to fund one or two research teams that will use a range of biomarker typesto identify the progression of Alzheimer's disease in adults who have Down syndrome.

Adults with Down syndrome are at "extremely high risk" of developing AD, NIH said in a funding announcement on Friday. These projects will seek to characterize the longitudinal trajectory of AD-related genetic, biochemical, imaging, clinical, and cognitive biomarkers in adults with Down syndrome.

The goal of these multidisciplinary studies will be to develop tools to identify AD earlier in Down syndrome patients and enable them to receive better treatments.

It is possible that people with Down syndrome who are at heightened risk for AD could benefit from anti-amyloid interventions for sporadic AD, and this in turn may offer insights about how those treatments target sporadic AD in general, NIH said.

Researchers may use these grants to study genetic and genomic markers such as APOE, DYRK1A, and RCAN1; cerebrospinal fluid and blood biochemical markers such as amyloid beta 40/42 and proteomic and metabolomic signatures; and a range of imaging-based methods including MRI, PET, and retinal amyloid imaging. Other methods may include neurocognitive and behavioral markers or neuropsychiatric symptoms.

NIH said these studies will respond to the goals of the US National Plan for Alzheimer's Disease, launched under the National Alzheimer's Project Act of 2012, as well as the NIH Research Plan on Down syndrome. These projects will be supported by the National Institute on Aging and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.