Bluefield Project President Speaks At "Alzheimer’s Disease-Related Dementias Summit 2016"

BETHESDA, MD. 3/30/16.  Bluefield Project President, Dr. Rodney Pearlman, spoke at the Alzheimer’s Disease-Related Dementias Summit 2016 in Bethesda, MD on March 29, 2016. The summit, sponsored by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), brought together clinicians, basic scientists, patients, caregivers and patient advocates to solicit input and develop prioritized recommendations that will guide NINDS research funding over the next 5-10 years.

Speaking in the session titled “Catalyzing Research through Unique Programs and Partnerships,” Dr. Pearlman described Bluefield’s model for accelerating research in progranulin-deficient FTD (GRN-FTD). He highlighted high priority drug discovery and clinical projects underway and emphasized Bluefield’s intent to partner with industry to bring drugs into the clinic. Colleagues from the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration, Alzheimer’s Research UK, the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation also spoke in the same session.

In 2011, President Obama signed the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA), which increased resources for research on not only Alzheimer’s disease but also on other, related dementias defined as frontotemporal dementia, Lewy body disease, VCID (vascular contributions to cognitive impairment and dementia), and mixed dementias. In response, in 2013 the NINDS convened the first Alzheimer’s Disease-Related Dementia Summit to develop a set of recommendations to guide scientific research. Participants in the current summit will help revise those recommendations based on scientific progress in the intervening three years.

At the summit, which was free and open to the public, academic investigators from the US, Canada and Europe presented their latest findings and discussed recommendations for areas where key questions remain unanswered. Each session was followed by a period for audience members to ask questions and provide suggestions.

Of particular interest to the GRN-FTD community was a review of the multi-center ARTFL and LEFFTDS clinical research studies, which are crucial for understanding the onset and progression of FTD. Also of interest was the FTD Disorders Registry, an online patient contact registry that is anticipated to be available in May, 2016. The FTD Disorders Registry will enable patients and family members to gain information about FTD and, if desired, participate in clinical research studies. Bluefield has contributed funding to ARTFL, LEFFTDS and the FTD Disorders Registry.

More information about the Alzheimer’s Disease-related Dementia Summit, including the research recommendations that were presented, is available at the summit website. The meeting was recorded and will be available for online viewing in the near future.