Committed funding for studies investigating AD biomarkers in adults with Down’s Syndrome
The National Institutes of Health (USA) has committed $35 million to fund two linked 5-year studies investigating AD biomarkers in adults with Down’s Syndrome. There are 8 sites in the USA and one outside, which is based in Cambridge, and led by Dr Shahid Zaman (Consultant Psychiatrist, CPFT and Associate Lecturer in the Department of Psychiatry). Dr Zaman’s team includes other CPFT staff ( Dr Isabel Clare, Consultant Clinical & Forensic Psychologist) and Ms Liz Jones (Research Nurse), and is supported by the NIHR CLAHRC East of England.
The study, Neurodegeneration in Aging Down Syndrome advances previous clinical investigations led by Emeritus Professor Tony Holland. It aims to understand the natural history of Alzheimer’s disease in people with Down’s syndrome. Individuals with Down’s syndrome almost always develop the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease by the age of 40 years, and so being able to study longitudinally a group of adults without clinical dementia will help us to understand the early warning signs of the dementia. Intervening early before the dementia develops is more likely to result in success when aiming to modify the progression of the disease. The study has already successfully scanned the first participant using MRI and PET scans, which can measure amyloid and tau protein deposits in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease. The outcome of this major study will have lasting benefits for the management and treatment of dementia.