NEW YORK — The Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA) said on Tuesday that it has awarded $518,391 to the Broad Institute and nonprofit research group One Mind to support a three-year study investigating the role of brain immune cells in Alzheimer's disease.
According to the AFA, research indicates that the response of microglia — the resident macrophage population of the central nervous system — to the amyloid-beta peptides that accumulate in the brains of Alzheimer's disease patients triggers inflammation. That inflammation, in turn, prompts that cells to remove brain synapses, leading to dementia.
With the support of the AFA grant, Broad investigators and collaborators at One Mind will use single-cell RNA sequencing technologies to characterize microglia and other immune cells with the goal of identifying biomarkers that can be used for early disease detection and monitoring, as well as aid in the development of new therapeutics.
"Emerging genetic evidence from the common later-onset form of Alzheimer's disease points to failures in how the microglia handle and remove toxic amyloid beta peptides," Broad Institute researcher Beth Stevens said in a statement. "These findings suggest that therapeutic interventions targeting microglia and other immune cells could be a way to combat Alzheimer's."