NIH Provides Funding for Large-Scale Study of Alzheimer Disease Biomarkers

  • Amyloid
  • flortaucipir
  • Neurofilament Light

To better understand the prevalence, progression, and clinical effects of Alzheimer disease (AD) among Mexican Americans, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has added funding for more biomarker measures to the ongoing Health and Aging Brain Among Latino Elders (HABLE) Study. The funding provided by the NIH National Institute on Aging (NIA) is expected to total $45.5 million over 5 years. 

The investment will help researchers better understand the health disparities of brain aging and AD between Mexican Americans and non-Latino whites. Launched in September 2017, the HABLE study has nearly completed recruitment of 1,000 Mexican Americans and 1,000 non-Latino whites, age 50 or more. Participants receive a functional exam, clinical labs, neuropsychologic tests, bloodwork, and an MRI of the brain.

The additional funding for HABLE-AT(N) expands the neuroimaging component of the study to include amyloid and tau PET scans. The researchers will also determine if traces of amyloid peptides Aß40 and Aß42, tau, neurofilament light (NfL), and exosomes in the blood can be used to screen AD across all stages of the disease. 

“To successfully battle and ultimately prevent or treat a complex disease such as AD, we need to understand how this disease and other forms of dementia affect our nation’s diverse communities differently,” said Eliezer Masliah, MD, director, NIA Division of Neuroscience. “Measuring additional biomarkers in this population will provide important clues to guide approaches to target the right disease processes in the right people at the right time.”

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