The National Institutes of Health will award three large, five-year projects on a specific form of dementia, known as frontotemporal because of the areas of the brain that are affected. The projects, funded by the NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), announced total more than $5.9 million for 2014.
Approximately 50,000 Americans live with frontotemporal degeneration, or FTD, which causes severe behavioral changes and problems with language and cognition. As the disease progresses, individuals have difficulty planning activities, interacting with others and caring for themselves.
“The grants cover a wide spectrum of FTD research, from fundamental discoveries of the genetics behind this disorder to testing potential therapies in patients. We hope that these projects will provide answers and new avenues of treatment for this devastating condition,” said Walter Koroshetz, M.D., acting director of NINDS.
“The projects aim to advance our understanding of frontotemporal degeneration by improving diagnosis, identifying preventive strategies and providing new insights into the genetics underlying this complex disorder,” said Margaret Sutherland, Ph.D., program director at NINDS.
In 2013, NIH sponsored a workshop on Alzheimer’s Disease-Related Dementias: Research Challenges and Opportunities. The workshop helped to identify gaps in dementia research and establish a set of priorities and goals. The new FTD grants address a number of the recommendations established at the workshop.
“This opportunity to identify the biomarkers that may signal the onset and progression of FTD in symptom-free volunteers with the familial form of the disease may one day lead to effective interventions,” said John Hsiao, M.D., a program director at NIA.
“These multicenter, multi-disciplinary projects will enable scientists to combine their areas of expertise to design novel approaches for FTD research, with the ultimate goal of providing treatments to more patients more efficiently,” said Pamela McInnes, D.D.S., M.Sc.(Dent.), deputy director of NCATS.
Date: October 23, 2014