Even for well-researched diseases, the path for a potential therapeutic to go from bench to bedside is invariably long and complicated. For a disease like frontotemporal dementia (FTD), about which we understand very little, the time horizon for potential therapeutics is dauntingly distant. So, when we created the Consortium for Frontotemporal Dementia Research (CFR), we applied a different research model to accelerate discovery.
The CFR’s core operating principles are designed to foster highly focused, rapid and collaborative research. They are:
- Collaborating – Our investigators openly share data in real time. New, pre-publication results are discussed at monthly subgroup meetings, biannual CFR-wide meetings and monthly leadership teleconferences. This unusually collaborative network accelerates transmission of key findings to move discovery forward.
- Combining basic and translational science – Our basic scientists and clinical neurologists work closely together to ensure discoveries made in animal models in the lab can be rapidly translated into clinical studies. Conversely, clinical observations of patients that lead to hypotheses can be quickly tested in animal models. This bidirectional informational exchange promotes rapid advances both in the clinic and at the bench.
- Providing the means for accelerated discoveries – Our investigators have access to shared state-of-the-art equipment and core reagents that they would be unable to fund individually. The CFR has embarked on an ambitious plan to generate or purchase reagents that will build our frontotemporal dementia research infrastructure and significantly advance research.
The CFR effectively changes the model of biomedical scientific discovery, energizing and promoting synergy between highly talented investigators to develop cures for frontotemporal dementia, much as the “Manhattan project” brought together the brightest minds to solve a problem decades ago. Already, CFR scientists have identified and are testing several promising leads for treatments. Only a few years old, the CFR is already positioned as the leader in frontotemporal dementia and related research in the academic setting.
Strategic partnerships with commercial enterprises are a key part of our plan to find a treatment for frontotemporal dementia. We welcome opportunities to discuss potential relationships. The CFR possesses unparalleled expertise and resources for both discovery and validation, including a variety of cell culture and animal models of progranulin-deficient frontotemporal dementia. Please contact us to learn more.