The University of Kansas has received funding for Alzheimer’s disease research.
According to Senator Roger Marshal’s office, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded the University of Kansas more than $1.1 million to develop a more comprehensive understanding of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) progression by evaluating various biomarkers within minority populations, an underrepresented group in AD research.
“Alzheimer’s is a devastating disease affecting an estimated 54,000 Kansans and 6 million Americans,” said Senator Marshall. “But we have hope. After decades of attempts, the FDA recently granted accelerated approval for the first and only Alzheimer’s disease treatment. I applaud our innovators for being leaders in medical research and the University of Kansas for their contribution in this fight.”
The project, funded by the National Institute of Aging, will help researchers at the University of Kansas evaluate various minority populations to develop a more comprehensive understanding of disease progression by looking at various biomarkers within these groups. According to the researchers, while African Americans have two to three times the incidence rates of AD than people of European ancestry, they are underrepresented in past and current AD research studies.
Biomarkers are a subcategory of medical signs that quantify clinical outcomes ranging from a patient’s blood pressure to laboratory tests of blood and other tissues. Just as cholesterol levels can serve as a biomarker of cardiovascular disease risk, understanding the biomarkers for AD can help doctors to better detect the disease in earlier stages, monitor responses to treatment, and measure how a person’s health condition changes over time. This work builds on the University of Kansas’ robust research in studying mitochondria dysfunction, which can lead to improved AD diagnostic and treatment plans. In total, the University of Kansas received $1,123,467 for the project and will run through May 2024.
It is estimated that AD and other dementias will kill 1 in 3 seniors and kills more than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. In addition to the emotional and physical toll it has on patients and their families, it will cost the economy more $300 billion in 2021. Without groundbreaking therapies, by 2050, the costs are expected to reach $1.1 trillion. Medicare and Medicaid will bear the vast majority of these health care costs.