Over half a million Canadians with dementia require accelerated research and new treatments

TORONTO–The Alzheimer Society of Canada welcomes the news that Biogen and Eisai will seek regulatory approval from the U.S. FDA for the drug aducanumab based on results of a new analysis of the Phase 3 EMERGE clinical study which found a reduction of cognitive and functional decline in adults taking higher doses of the drug.

“As a leader and major funder of dementia research in Canada, the Alzheimer Society is thrilled to learn about this new development,” says Dr. Saskia Sivananthan, Chief Science Officer at the Alzheimer Society of Canada. “We’re bracing for a sharp upturn in the numbers of Canadians with dementia, so today’s announcement gives us hope as well as the impetus to keep exploring new hypotheses and novel ideas. Research is absolutely key in stopping this disease in its tracks.”

Recently, Biogen and Eisai announced it would discontinue its Phase 3 clinical trials for aducanumab after an interim analysis showed the drug was unlikely to produce any benefit. However, an updated analysis that included additional data on a larger number of individuals who completed the full course, demonstrated that a subset of patients who received a higher dose of aducanumab had significant changes.

“If the drug is approved by the FDA, it is not clear how soon it would be available in Canada,” adds Sivananthan, “but the possibility of having a new drug on the market is long overdue.”

The Alzheimer Society of Canada has invested over $59 million in Canadian researchers across the country through its annual Alzheimer Society of Research Program competition. This year, the Program is offering two new funding opportunities:

Proof of concept grant: Established and new investigators who are leading high-risk, novel projects can apply for $100,000 for up to five years.

New investigator operating grant: Investigators who are within the first four years of their faculty position are eligible for $200,000 for up to four years to carry their work throughout the full research cycle.

In addition to the new funding opportunities, the Research Program will also shift to an open competition that will focus on four new funding priorities:

> discovery;
> policy and health systems change;
> evaluation of community programs; and
> ethical and legal issues.

To learn more about the Alzheimer Society or to find out about the research we fund, please visit: www.alzheimer.ca

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