Author Archives: LuMind RDS Foundation's plus15 Blog

About LuMind RDS Foundation's plus15 Blog

plus15 is a blog run by LuMind Research Down Syndrome Foundation, formerly the Down Syndrome Research and Treatment Foundation (DSRTF). We invite you to imagine what just a 15% increase in cognitive ability could mean for your loved one -- and to do more for Down syndrome research.

Sky’s the Limit Honorees Announced

STL Event LogoLuMind Research Down Syndrome Foundation is happy to announce the honorees for the Second Annual Sky’s the Limit Awards Gala. Sky’s the Limit recognizes the best and brightest who have helped propel Down syndrome cognition research, celebrating their successes at a Gala on May 21, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.

Founders’ Award: Awarded to an individual or organization whose work has left a legacy in the advancement of Ds cognition research.

Honoree: Hayes Mechanical for their continued and growing golf events in support of Down syndrome cognition research. Terry Ancel, president of Hayes Mechanical will be accepting the award on behalf of the firm.

Dr. David Cox Rising Star Award: In recognition of an up and coming researcher.

Honoree: Dr. Michael Rafii, University of California, San Diego, for his work on the first clinical trial just started to study Alzheimer’s in adults with Ds.

Dr. William Cohen Researcher of Distinction Award: Awarded to an established researcher who has made a significant contribution to Ds research, produces research that is innovative, relevant and timely and collaborates with others both as researcher and mentor to advance research.

Honoree: Dr. Roger Reeves, Johns Hopkins University, for his strong research work, representing the discipline, and bringing several new researchers in the field through his consortium project.

Luminary Award: Presented to an outstanding volunteer(s) who consistently excels in their efforts with proven results.

Honorees: Steve Lazare,  Mary Costello Lazare, and Anthony Providenti for a decade of work on the ROMP for Research in New York, raising almost $2 million for cognition research.

Please join us in congratulating the honorees and plan to join us to celebrate their wonderful achievements on May 21.

World’s First Clinical Trial for anti-Abeta Vaccine Targeting Alzheimer’s Disease-like Characteristics in People with Down Syndrome

AC Immune

PRESS RELEASE – Issued by AC Immune

  • Studies AC Immune’s ACI-24, the first anti-amyloid vaccine for treatment of Alzheimer’s disease-like characteristics in people with Down syndrome
  • Clinical Study is done in collaboration with University of California San Diego
  • US NIH provides significant funding with an additional grant from the LuMind Research Down Syndrome Foundation
  • Alzheimer’s disease-like characteristics develop in virtually all people with Down syndrome over age 40; majority develops associated dementia over
    age 60

Lausanne, Switzerland, San Diego, CA and Marlborough, MA USA – January 7, 2016 – Today plans were announced to conduct the world’s first clinical trial for a vaccine targeting Alzheimer’s disease-like characteristics in those with Down syndrome. The study will test AC Immune’s vaccine ACI-24 and is being conducted in collaboration with the University of California, San Diego (UC San Diego) Down Syndrome Research and Treatment Center. Funding is provided by a significant grant from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) and an additional grant from the LuMind Research Down Syndrome Foundation. This is the first public/private collaboration for a clinical trial in the field of Down syndrome.

Individuals with Down syndrome (DS) have an extra copy of chromosome 21 which carries the gene for APP encoding the precursor protein of Abeta, one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). An important consequence is that individuals with DS develop AD-like characteristics at a rate three to five times greater than that of the general population and at a much younger age. Further, AD-like characteristics develop in more than 98% of people with DS over age 40 with up to 80% developing associated dementia over the age of 60. It is estimated that there are 6 million people with DS worldwide, with 400,000 in the United States.

Trial participants will be adults with DS. The objectives of the trial include studying safety and tolerability of ACI-24, its effect on induction of antibodies against Abeta, clinical and cognitive measures in adults with DS and its effect on biomarkers of AD-like pathology in DS. Participants in the study will be treated for 12 months, with 12 months follow up.

Prof. Andrea Pfeifer, CEO of AC Immune said: “We are very pleased to bring this potentially disease modifying treatment for Alzheimer’s disease into the vulnerable, genetically predisposed Down syndrome population. The combined knowledge and resources of AC Immune, UC San Diego, NIH and the LuMind Research Down Syndrome Foundation should generate much needed insight for treating the Alzheimer’s-like characteristics of those with Down syndrome. Additionally, this ground-breaking clinical trial could enhance our understanding of early intervention and prevention of Alzheimer’s in general.”

Dr. William Mobley, Executive Director of the UC San Diego Down Syndrome Research and Treatment Center, commented: “We are delighted to join our colleagues at AC Immune and the LuMind Research Down Syndrome Foundation in this exciting study, the first step in a process whose ultimate goal is preventing Alzheimer’s disease in people with Down syndrome.  That both public and private funding sources support the study signifies the importance attached to Alzheimer’s disease and the valuable insights that will come from studies of this disorder in Down syndrome.  We wish to thank our colleagues as we eagerly look forward to helping people with Down syndrome and their families and loved-ones.”

Dr. Michael Harpold,  LuMind Research Down Syndrome Foundation’s Chief Scientific Officer, stated: “We are very excited the LuMind Research Down Syndrome Foundation has been able to work and join together with AC Immune, UC San Diego and NIH in establishing the first ever private-public partnership for a clinical trial in the field of Down syndrome. Accelerating research and the development of new potential therapies to address the developmental intellectual disabilities and earlier onset of Alzheimer’s disease in people with Down syndrome represents a major part of our foundation’s mission and commitment to prevent the earlier decline and loss of important gains they have attained throughout their lives.”

About ACI-24

ACI-24 is a liposomal therapeutic anti-Abeta vaccine candidate, which is owned by AC Immune and was discovered utilizing the Company’s proprietary SupraAntigenTM technology platform. The vaccine is designed to stimulate a patient’s immune system to produce antibodies that specifically target the oligomeric and fibrillary Abeta proteins to prevent beta amyloid plaque accumulation and to enhance plaque clearance. Preclinical data demonstrated a significant activity in plaque reduction and memory restoration as well as a favorable safety profile characterized by a lack of local inflammation and a mode of action independent of inflammatory T-cells. The vaccine is currently also being studied in a phase 1/2a clinical trial in patients with mild to moderate AD, in which no significant safety issues have been detected to date.

About Down syndrome

Down syndrome, or trisomy 21, is the most common genetic cause of intellectual disability and developmental delay, and affects one in 700 newborns. This condition results when an individual has three, rather than two, copies of the 21st chromosome. This additional genetic material causes impairment of cognitive ability and physical growth, and is associated with other medical issues ranging from neurological and cardiac defects to hearing and vision problems as well as earlier development of Alzheimer’s disease. The average life expectancy for people with DS has increased from 25 years in the 1980’s to approximately 60 years today.

About Alzheimer’s disease

It is becoming increasingly clear that Alzheimer’s disease develops because of a complex series of events that take place in the brain over a long period of time. Two proteins – Tau and beta-amyloid (Abeta) – are recognized as major hallmarks of neurodegeneration: tangles and other abnormal forms of Tau protein accumulate inside the brain cells and spread between cells, while plaques and oligomers formed by beta-amyloid occur outside the brain cells of people with AD.

AD is one of the biggest burdens of society with a dramatic and growing worldwide incidence rate of one new case every three seconds, or 9.9 million new cases of dementia each year. Since the incidence and prevalence of AD increase with age, the number of patients will grow significantly as society ages. Worldwide in 2015 there are 46.8 million people living with dementia and by 2050 it is expected that global patient numbers will triple to 131.5 million. It is estimated that the annual societal and economic cost of dementia has risen from US$ 604 billion in 2010 to US$ 818 billion in 2015.  In the US, AD is now the 6th leading cause of death across all ages and is the fifth leading cause of death for those aged 65 and older.

About AC Immune

AC Immune is a leading Swiss-based biopharmaceutical company focused on neurodegenerative diseases with three product candidates in clinical trials.  The Company designs, discovers and develops therapeutic and diagnostic products to prevent and modify diseases caused by misfolding proteins. AC Immune’s two proprietary technology platforms create antibodies, small molecules and vaccines to address large markets across a broad spectrum of neurodegenerative indications. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the largest indication addressed by its products but the company’s innovative, differentiated and disease-modifying therapies are designed to shift the paradigm in the treatment of other neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, Down syndrome, and Glaucoma. The Company has a large, diversified and promising pipeline featuring seven therapeutic and three diagnostic product candidates. The most advanced of these is crenezumab, an anti-Abeta antibody that is licensed to Genentech entering phase 3 clinical trials. Crenezumab was chosen by the US National Institute of Health for use in the first-ever AD prevention trial. The company has partnered three programs targeting Tau: ACI-35 with Janssen (therapeutic vaccine, phase 1b), Tau-PET imaging agent with Piramal (Alzheimer’s diagnostic agent) and anti-Tau-antibodies with Genentech (preclinical). The anti-Abeta vaccine ACI-24 phase 1/2a trial is run in house.

About UC San Diego Down Syndrome Research and Treatment Center

Established in 2009, the Center’s efforts focus on defining the genes and mechanisms responsible for the cognitive challenges faced by people with Down syndrome. Studies are carried out in both mouse models and in mouse and human cellular models.  The insights derived support translation of basic science findings into new treatments, using either existing drugs or through drug discovery. The Center’s work has resulted in conceptual innovations and several novel treatment targets and has inspired existing trials as well as the clinical study announced in this press release (supported by an NIH grant under award number R01AG047922). The Center is supported by the NIH and private foundations, including the LuMind Research Down Syndrome Foundation, the Alzheimer’s Association, the Tau Consortium and the Cure Alzheimer Fund.

About LuMind Research Down Syndrome Foundation

LuMind Research Down Syndrome Foundation, formerly the Down Syndrome Research and Treatment Foundation (DSRTF) and Research Down Syndrome, is an international non-profit organization with headquarters in Marlborough, Massachusetts, aimed at accelerating the development of treatments to significantly improve cognition, including memory, learning and speech, for individuals with Down syndrome. LuMind RDS Foundation is the leading source of private funding supporting Down syndrome cognition research at major research centers, including Johns Hopkins Medicine, Stanford University, University of California, San Diego, and University of Arizona. Since its founding in 2004, LuMind RDS Foundation has committed more than $13 million to fund results-driven research programs that will benefit children and adults with Down syndrome, and has been instrumental in the initiation of clinical trials now under way.

For further information please contact:

AC Immune

Prof. Andrea Pfeifer

Chief Executive Officer

Phone: +41-21-693 91 21

E-mail:andrea.pfeifer@acimmune.com

Eva Schier

Corporate Communications Manager

Phone: +41-21-693 91 34

E-mail: eva.schier@acimmune.com

 

Nick Miles

Senior Consultant

Cabinet Privé de Conseils s.a.

Mobile : +41 79 678 76 26

E-mail : miles@cpc-pr.com

In the US

Ted Agne

The Communications Strategy Group Inc.

Phone: +1 781 631 3117

E-mail: edagne@comstratgroup.comed

 

 

UC San Diego

William C Mobley, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor of Neurosciences, and

Executive Director, Down Syndrome

Research and Treatment Center

Phone: +1 858-534-9434

Email: wmobley@ucsd.edu

 

Scott LaFee

Director, Media Relations

Marketing and Communications

UC San Diego Health Sciences

Phone : +1 619-543-6163

Email : mailto:slafee@ucsd.edu

 

LuMind Research Down Syndrome Foundation

Carolyn Cronin

President/Chief Executive Officer

Phone: (508) 630-2178

Email: ccronin@lumindrds.org

 

Ellen Oliver

Marketing Director

Phone: (508) 630-2179

Email: eoliver@lumindrds.org

 

Michael M. Harpold, PhD

Chief Scientific Officer

Phone: (520) 297-3105

Email: mharpold@lumindrds.org

 

 

 

Federal Budget Updates Related to Down Syndrome Research

Our Dr. Harpold stays closely connected to and works in the world of research, not only Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease, but also relevant research endeavors at a broad scale. Here’s his take on the Federal 2016 Omnibus Budget Bill.

By Dr. Michael Harpold, LuMind RDS Chief Scientific Officer

The just enacted Federal 2016 Omnibus Budget Bill, which includes a $2 billion increase for NIH, represents significantly good news for advancing biomedical research including Down syndrome research.

Over approximately the past decade, the budget for NIH has remained essentially flat, translating to a more than 25% decline in actual NIH “research-buying” power. This has made securing funding for NIH research grants by researchers extremely difficult and, closer to home, created significant challenges in gaining increased NIH funding dedicated to Down syndrome research.

This newly enacted increase in NIH funding will enable funding for more NIH grants as well as significantly increased funding to address Alzheimer’s disease… all potentially good news for Down syndrome research.

In addition to work focused on NIH funding for Down syndrome throughout this year, LuMind RDS contributed to a recent final push for this increased funding, especially Alzheimer’s disease research, through our continuing membership and work together with Leaders Engaged in Alzheimer’s Disease leveraging together 80 member organizations, as a signatory on advocacy letters, which also specifically included Down syndrome reference, to the respective US House and Senate Appropriations committees’ leadership.

Among other important relevant appropriations in this new Federal budget:

  • National Institutes on Aging (NIA) Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias research funding will increase to $936 million, a $350 million, or almost 60%, increase above Fiscal Year 2015
  • NIA’s overall funding will increase by $400 million, more than 85% of that for dementia
  • The Center for Disease Control (CDC) will have 3.5 million for its Alzheimer’s Disease (brain health) program, and
  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA) funding will increase 5%, roughly $90-100 million more than House and Senate appropriators passed earlier this year.

Thank you for the momentum you’ve helped to create to bring the importance of increasing funding for all types of research to the attention of the government.

Please consider continuing to show your support for Down syndrome research with a donation during our Annual Appeal.

Clinton Campaign Announces Investment Plan for Alzheimer’s Disease

LuMind Research Down Syndrome Foundation applauds the development and announcement by the Clinton presidential campaign of a formal plan for new investment to prevent, treat, and make an Alzheimer’s disease cure possible by 2025, which includes a commitment to reach the $2 billion annual funding level for NIH’s dementia research. You can read more details on Clinton’s announced plan in the following article.

We join with many of our other colleagues and partners in the Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease communities in encouraging all of the presidential campaigns to develop and support formal proposals for advancing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia research.

This research is especially important for individuals with Down syndrome since virtually all develop the brain characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease earlier, by their 40’s, and the majority subsequently progress to earlier onset of the associated dementia. In November, NIH announced significant new grant awards to find Alzheimer’s biomarkers in Down syndrome.

LuMind RDS is the leading source of private funding for Down syndrome cognition research, including funding initiatives to identify and develop effective new therapies to prevent and halt the progression of the earlier onset Alzheimer’s disease in people with Down syndrome and help avoid the loss of gains they achieve throughout their lives. If you would like to support this research, please consider a donation during our Annual Appeal.

Never Underestimate Your Influence

by Anne Tippett, LuMind RDS Vice President of Development

Do you have plans for December 1, Giving Tuesday? Giving Tuesday is a national day of giving that follows Black Friday and Cyber Monday. You may already have a charity in mind to support, hopefully you’ll consider LuMind RDS.

GT_LuMind_logo

Did you know your friends and family might want to participate in Giving Tuesday, but are uncertain about which organization to support? They may be interested in supporting Down syndrome research because they care about you, they just need to know about us.

While you may take for granted how you live your life and support your loved one with Down syndrome, you may not realize the positive impact you have on others. Teachers, relatives, friends, healthcare providers, all types of people have supported us because of your influence.

Giving Tuesday is rooted in social media and fueled by online sharing. Please watch our website, open our emails, and share our posts with your network to encourage people to donate to LuMind RDS.

Or tell your story and invite people to participate in Giving Tuesday by supporting you and your loved one with Down syndrome. Use #GivingTuesday #GTLuMindRDS and we will share (and thank you!).

But it’s not all about money – Giving Tuesday is about finding ways to give back. So, all day on Tuesday, we’ll be posting ways people can share talent, time, and ideas. Give them a look and consider asking your network to lend some talent to our cause. If you want a preview, check out our list of volunteer opportunities.

And we’d love to help you help us! Tell us why you are inspired by the promise of Down syndrome cognition research and we’ll feature you on our social sites. Make sure to tag us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @LuMindRDS or send an email to our marketing director, Ellen Oliver at EOliver@LuMindRDS.org, and we’ll gladly celebrate your support!

Down syndrome cognition research is a promising investment, not only for our loved ones with DS, but also for the Alzheimer’s community. We thank you for supporting LuMind RDS and giving with your head as well as your heart.

NIH supports new studies to find Alzheimer’s biomarkers in Down syndrome

The National Institutes of Health announced a groundbreaking initiative to track dementia onset and the progress of Alzheimer’s disease in people with Down syndrome.

The studies will be funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), both part of NIH.

“We are very excited and grateful that the NIH Biomarkers of Alzheimer’s Disease in Adults with Down Syndrome Initiative has now been established with funding by the National Institute on Aging and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development,” said Dr. Michael Harpold LuMind RDS Chief Scientific Officer.

This initiative represents one of the major recommendations deriving from the 2013 NIH Workshop “Advancing Treatments for Alzheimer’s Disease in Individuals with Down Syndrome” with the participation, co-sponsorship and co-support by the LuMind RDS Foundation. This recommendation was also subsequently incorporated into the Federal National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease.

“This is an extremely important and much needed research initiative to more deeply understand the earlier onset and course of Alzheimer’s disease in individuals with Down syndrome, and the results from this new five year research initiative will also be important in further accelerating clinical trials to develop effective new therapies,” said Dr. Harpold.

View the full press release from NIH here.

LuMind Research Down Syndrome Named an Official Charity Partner of the 2016 United Airlines NYC Half Set for Sunday, March 20, 2016

New York, November 17, 2015 — LuMind Research Down Syndrome Foundation was named an Official Charity Partner of the 2016 United Airlines NYC Half, it was announced today by Carolyn Cronin president and CEO of LuMind RDS. The race will take place on Sunday, March 20, 2016.

“The opportunity to partner with the United Airlines NYC Half gives LuMind Research Down Syndrome Foundation the ability to raise funds and awareness for valuable Down syndrome cognition research, including unraveling the connections between Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease,” said Cronin. “We look forward to having a dedicated team of runners take on the United Airlines NYC Half on behalf of our organization—training, preparing, and ultimately completing the 13.1-mile race for a cause that is both meaningful and close to each and every one of them.”

Over five million dollars was raised by more than 2,800 charity runners during the 2015 United Airlines NYC Half to help more than 100 nonprofit organizations support their missions and services. Approximately 120 official charity partners will be part of the 2016 United Airlines NYC Half.

LuMind RDS Runners will be running in the United Airlines NYC Half Marathon on 3/20/16.

LuMind RDS Runners will be running in the United Airlines NYC Half Marathon on 3/20/16.

LuMind RDS Runners is a vibrant community of dedicated parents, siblings, family members, and friends devoted to pushing physical limits in racing challenges to fund research on improving cognition in people with Down syndrome. The research they help to fund focuses on improving learning, memory, and sleep for people of all ages with Down syndrome enabling increased opportunities for independence at school and work. People with Down syndrome have an extra copy of the 21st chromosome, so LuMind RDS Runners “race for eXtraordinary,” especially during the month of March in honor of World Down Syndrome Day on March 21. LuMind RDS runners – and walkers will be participating in events all month with the United Airlines NYC Half Marathon as a capstone event.

“We welcome LuMind Research Down Syndrome Foundation as an official charity partner of the 2016 United Airlines NYC Half,” said Michael Capiraso, president and CEO of New York Road Runners. “We are privileged to partner with approximately 120 official charity partners for this event, impacting thousands in need of support for so many significant causes. Our charity runners are an inspirational and integral part of this race and we applaud their efforts and the positive impact they each make.”

The United Airlines NYC Half features some of the most talented American and international professional athlete fields and a vast range of competitive, recreational, and charity runners.  Some 1,500 volunteers and thousands of spectators line the course in support of all participants. 19,454 finishers completed the 2015 United Airlines NYC Half from nearly all of the 50 states and more than 67 countries. For the first time ever, the NYRR Times Square Kids’ Run at the United Airlines NYC Half gave hundreds of kids the opportunity to participate in a race of their own as they completed a 1500-meter out-and-back course through the heart of New York City.

The 2016 United Airlines NYC Half will be broadcast live locally on WABC-TV, Channel 7 for the fifth consecutive year. 

About New York Road Runners

Founded in 1958, New York Road Runners has grown from a local running club to the world’s premier community running organization, whose mission is to help and inspire people through running. NYRR’s commitment to New York City’s five boroughs features races, community events, youth running initiatives, school programs, and training resources that provide hundreds of thousands of people each year, from children to seniors, with the motivation, know-how, and opportunity to Run for Life. NYRR’s premier event, and the largest marathon in the world, is the TCS New York City Marathon. Held annually on the first Sunday in November, the race features 50,000 runners, from the world’s top professional athletes to a vast range of competitive, recreational, and charity runners. To learn more, visit www.nyrr.org.

About LuMind Research Down Syndrome Foundation

LuMind Research Down Syndrome Foundation, formerly the Down Syndrome Research and Treatment Foundation (DSRTF) and Research Down Syndrome, is a national non-profit organization headquartered in Marlborough, Massachusetts, aimed at accelerating the development of treatments to significantly improve cognition, including memory, learning and speech, for individuals with Down syndrome. LuMind RDS Foundation is the leading source of private funding supporting research at major research centers, including Johns Hopkins Medicine, Stanford University, University of California, San Diego, and University of Arizona. Since its founding in 2004, LuMind RDS Foundation has committed more than $13 million to fund results-driven research programs that will benefit children and adults with Down syndrome, and has been instrumental in the initiation of clinical trials now under way. To learn more: www.LuMindRDS.org.