Finding effective treatments and preventative therapies for Alzheimer's disease (AD) is one of the country's most serious unmet medical needs. With ~500,000 AD patients and >3 million at-risk individuals over age 65, Florida is an epicenter of the AD epidemic in the United States; yet, there are no active ADRCs or ADCCs primarily based in the State. In order to further our collective understanding of AD and related dementias, the University of Florida (UF)-Mount Sinai Medical Center (MSMC) AD Research Center (ADRC) will coalesce research efforts within the Wien Memory Disorder Center at MSMC in Miami and the UF in Gainesville. These efforts will capitalize on the clinical population in the Wien Center that is majority Hispanic, the expansive research capabilities at UF, and the infrastructure for translational research provided by the NIH funded UF Clinical and Translational Science Institute. Major goals of the UF-MSMC ADRC are to; i) further elucidate the correlation of early cognitive impairment to various biomarkers of brain structure and function; ii) understand predictors of decline in Hispanic and Non-Hispanic individuals; iii) support translational research efforts that will further the understanding of disease mechanisms; iv) lay the groundwork for improved designs for testing novel therapies for AD and related dementias, and; v) have a broad state-wide educational impact including recruitment of junior investigators into the AD field. In addition to the five required Cores, three Projects are proposed. Project I explores the hypothesis that MRI-based measures of free water can provide important theragnostic information in AD. Project II evaluates new cognitive paradigms that will be more sensitive to the earliest manifestations of AD in Hispanic and non-Hispanic populations. Project III will develop new models of mixed AD pathologies and evaluate immunotherapeutic approaches aimed at modifying these mixed pathologies. Having recognized the need for ADRCs in Florida, there is substantial multi-institutional support for this ADRC and, importantly, supplemental State of Florida legislative funding.
Florida is an epicenter of the Alzheimer's disease (AD) epidemic in the US. Given the burden of AD in Florida, the state should be a leader, not a bystander, in the fight to cure AD by 2025. The UF-MSMC ADRC proposal will create infrastructure that supports research and educational activities as well as clinical care for patients with AD and other dementias. It will also serve as a hub for translational work that is needed to advance the science in order to reach our shared goal of treating and preventing AD.
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