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NIA Seeks Applications for Alzheimer's Disease Biorepository

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The National Institute on Aging announced last week that it will soon begin accepting applications from institutions interested in taking over responsibility for the agency's National Cell Repository for Alzheimer's Disease (NCRAD), a collection of biospecimens from various larger-scale genetic studies of the neurodegenerative condition.

The NCRAD is tasked with collecting, maintaining, tracking, and distributing DNA, plasma, brain tissue, and other biosamples from Alzheimer's patients for use in genetic research programs around the disease and related disorders. It is currently housed at Indiana University Medical Center, but it could move if the NIA renews the NCRAD's funding with a different institute.

The NCRAD was established in 1990 to collect and maintain biological specimens derived from large numbers of phenotypically well-characterized families with multiple members affected with Alzheimer's disease, with initial efforts focused on early-onset, autosomal dominant families, according to the NIA.

The NCRAD later began recruiting families with late-onset disease and familiar non-Alzheimer's dementia, and by 2003 became the repository for the ongoing Genetics of Late Onset Alzheimer's Disease (LOAD) study, which focuses on families with two or more living siblings diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease after the age of 60.

Since then, it has also become a primary biorepository for the NIA-sponsored Alzheimer's Disease Centers, the Alzheimer Disease Genetic Consortium, and the Alzheimer's Disease Sequencing Project.

With the NCRAD's funding allocated on five-year cycles, the NIA said that beginning on Dec. 25 it will accept applications from organizations that want to manage the biorepository.

The NIA said that over the next five years, the NCRAD will be responsible for providing overall project management of research and resource goals for the agency's various Alzheimer's research programs; and must have the ability to receive and organize previously collected biosamples and new biospecimen collections.

Additionally, the NCRAD will be responsible for working with government officials, academic scientists, industry representatives, and data-management experts such as National Alzheimer's Coordinating Center and the NIA's Genetics of Alzheimer's Disease Data Storage Site.

Eligible applicants must be able to provide scientific and laboratory expertise, including that related to the development and use of biospecimen protocols and QA/QC assays, and must be able to coordinate the receipt, processing, storage, and distribution of biospecimens from multiple research projects and studies.

The NIA said that applicants must also be able to link clinical data with biosamples, noting that data sharing and protocol standardization is key the success of the repository as a community research resource. "A user-friendly, query-based website is an essential component of the overall activity," it added.

The NIA said it intends to make one award worth up to $900,000 in annual direct costs for up to five years under the NCRAD funding opportunity. Eligible institutions are limited to institutions with currently active NIA-funded research projects and established relationships with the agency's National Alzheimer's Coordinating Center.

Additional details can be found here.

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