LBDA

NIH Awards 4 Grants for LBD Biomarker Studies

Exciting, new investments are being by made in LBD research by the U.S. government in response to the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease (and related dementias). The National Institute of Health recently awarded 4 more grants to leading academic centers in the US, in an effort to speed the development of widely-available biological tests for LBD. 
 
Each study takes a different angle to identify LBD biomarkers, but all share some common elements. Each will collect and centralize clinical data, brain imaging tests and biological samples of study participants with LBD over at least two years. These ‘longitudinal’ studies are essential to developing a better understand of how the biology of LBD relates over time to person’s ability to function as the disease unfolds.
 
A study at Columbia University, led by co-primary investigators Karen Marder, MD and Lawrence Honig, MD, aims to develop an understanding of how co-existing Alzheimer’s disease affects the clinical course of dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB).
 
Clemens Scherzer at Harvard University aims to develop a test that can detect a problem in the body’s ability to regulate a type of fat (also called a lipid) in nerve cell membranes. Some people with a certain genetic risk factor for LBD do not regulate a specific lipid, called a sphingolipid, normally. A test for a ‘bad sphingolipid’ would be helpful in developing treatments for cognitive symptoms of LBD.
 
At the University of Michigan, Kirk Frey, MD and colleagues are trying to determine what clinical and biomarker features may help identify different sub-types of LBD. This includes studying the symptoms and using brain imaging to detect whether one or more disease process is unfolding in the brain. 
 
Mayo Clinic’s study, led by Brad Boeve, MD and Kejal Kantarci, MD, in Rochester, MN will use several types of brain imaging to measure how progression of LBD is affected by not just the presence of Lewy bodies, but also co-existing Alzheimer’s disease.
 
While these increases in funding are exciting, it’s essential to note that no study can be successful without the participation of the LBD community. To learn more about these studies and others that are currently enrolling, visit LBDA’s Participate in Research page.