University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)

A Hillblom Network Program for the Pre-Clinical Identification of Alzheimer's Disease and Other Age-Related Dementias

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Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is projected to reach epidemic proportions over the next 40 years. With new interventions on the horizon, one of the highest priorities is identifying individuals at high risk for the disease, and intervening prior to the onset of cognitive symptoms. The overarching goal of our Hillblom Foundation grant is to establish a unified cohort of individuals at-risk for developing AD so that several key research groups at UCSF Medical Center can identify behavioral, biological, and genetic markers predictive of progression.

We are targeting individuals who are at high risk for developing AD. The five primary groups are those with: 1) mild cognitive impairment, characterized by memory complaints and weak performance on standardized memory tests, 2) at least one e-4 allele of the Apo-E gene, 3) a positive family history of AD (in a first degree relative), 4) age equal to or greater than 85, and 5) age over 60 with at least one risk factor for atherosclerosis.

This project has two major components. The first component is an extensive, multidisciplinary, characterization of our cohort that includes a uniform set of demographic, neurological, imaging, neuropsychological, genetic, and laboratory data. The second component is a research infrastructure at UCSF that will facilitate research with this cohort. The Hillblom grant will: 1) link clinical and research groups at UCSF involved with early identification and treatment of AD, 2) establish and maintain a common database, 3) store blood samples for serologic and genetic studies, and 4) strengthen the basic science clinical links at UCSF to accelerate improvements in diagnosis and treatment.