Alzheimer's & Aging

With the graying of the U.S. population, certain diseases take on special urgency as their personal and social costs grow. Preventing or slowing the progress of diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease and osteoarthritis will have a huge impact on the nation’s health and the quality of life of millions of Americans. Understanding normal aging processes is critical to understanding and intervening in these diseases.

This groundbreaking initiative expands the science of targeted medicine. The Consortium is helping to innovate and accelerate the new era of precision medicine by fostering pre-competitive alliances of the public and private sectors. Composed of several disease-focused efforts, the consortium’s central aim is to identify, develop, and qualify measureable indicators of biological and pathological processes – biomarkers – to advance specific applications for diagnosing disease, predicting therapeutic response, and improving clinical practice using new and existing technologies.

This unprecedented public private partnership brings together the National Institutes of Health, (NIH), 10 biopharmaceutical companies and several not-for-profit organizations, in a mission to transform the current model for developing new diagnostics and treatments by jointly identifying and validating promising biological targets of disease.  This is the first pre-competitive public private partnership of its kind, since a main goal of the collaboration will be to generate pre-competitive, disease-specific data that will be made publicly available.

The Sports and Health Research Program (SHRP) is an innovative partnership among the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Football League (NFL) and the FNIH. Launched in 2012, the program aims to help accelerate the pursuit of research to enhance the health of athletes at all levels, past, present and future, and to extend the impact of that research beyond the playing field to benefit others in the general population, including members of the military.

Sarcopenia is common among older adults, resulting in serious consequences such as disability, increased mortality, and negative effects on co-morbid conditions. It is currently unrecognized as a disease state within the healthcare industry because there is a lack of uniform criteria for its diagnosis and severity.

The Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI), is a landmark partnership and study supported by the FNIH tasked with identifying biomarkers derived from brain scans, genetic profiles and blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) to detect progression of AD. ADNI II builds upon the successes of earlier ADNI phases and seeks to identify the earliest changes in brain structure and function as people transition from normal cognitive aging to mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to AD. This next phase of the study is scheduled to continue through 2015.

The Research Partnership in Cognitive Aging is a public-private effort between the National Institute on Aging, the McKnight Brain Research Foundation, and the Foundation for NIH to support current and emerging research on age-related changes in the brain influencing cognition and memory loss associated with normal aging.

Osteoarthritis—the most common form of arthritis—is a degenerative joint disease, and the major cause of physical limitations and disability in older people. Today, 35 million people (13 percent of the U.S. population) are 65 and older, and more than half of them have clear evidence of osteoarthritis in at least one joint. By 2030, 20 percent of Americans (about 70 million people) will have passed their 65th birthday and will be at risk for osteoarthritis.

First described more than 100 years ago, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) has no cure or lasting, effective treatment. Currently, more than 5 million people in the United States suffer from it and its incidence is projected to increase dramatically over the next 20 years.