NIH Launches Research Consortium on Vascular Contributions to Alzheimer’s

Blood pressure
Blood pressure
The 5-year, $30 million program seeks to identify the molecular connections between vascular risk factors and Alzheimer dementia.

The NIH, along with researchers from several national institutions, have come together to launch M²OVE-AD, a 5-year, $30 million program meant to seek out a better understanding of vascular contributions to Alzheimer’s disease.

The research venture, named Molecular Mechanisms of the Vascular Etiology of Alzheimer’s Disease, will combine science and data to hopefully identify new targets for treatment and prevention of the neurodegenerative disease.

“Despite evidence that the brains of most Alzheimer’s patients have a variety of vascular lesions, and that mid-life diabetes and high blood pressure are major risk factors for Alzheimer’s, our understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved is quite limited,” NIA Director Richard J. Hodes, MD, said in a statement. “M²OVE-AD will not only advance our understanding of these mechanisms, but also identify the molecular signatures—sets of genes, proteins and metabolites—that may be used as markers for disease risk or to track the effectiveness of promising therapies.”

The research teams will generate molecular data from brain tissue donations as well as blood cell and plasma donations, which will aid in the development of mathematical models to assess the link between vascular risk factors and Alzheimer’s onset and progression.

Projects supported by M²OVE-AD include:

The investigation of how molecular networks influence vascular aging in Alzheimer’s and other dementias, led by researchers from the Mayo Clinic and Icahn Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology.

An integrated human/animal model investigation to examine the interplay between diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and cerebrovascular disease led by researchers from Columbia University and SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY.

An investigation into the mechanisms by which vascular dysfunction and high blood pressure affect Alzheimer’s onset and progression, led by researchers from Emory University.

The identification and definition of lipidomic signatures in plasma associated with cardiovascular disease and changes in cognition, led by researchers from Duke University and the University of Pennsylvania.

The investigation of molecular mechanisms underlying cerebral amyloid angiopathy, led by researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital.

“Breaking down the traditional barriers to collaboration and data-sharing is key to moving the science forward, so we’ve ensured that the discoveries each team makes can be rapidly shared among the Consortium and the wider research community,” said Suzana Petanceska, PhD, senior advisor for strategic development and partnerships in the NIA Division of Neuroscience. “We’ve also established a panel of external leading experts to help shape the direction of M2OVE-AD research and potentially, bring about new partnerships and avenues of investigation.”