National Institute on Aging, Industry Launches Partnership, $60 Million Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative

Contact: Gina M. Digravio, 617-638-8491 |

(Boston) – The National Institute on Aging (NIA) in conjunction with other Federal agencies, private companies and organizations today launched a $60 million, 5-year public-private partnership — the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative — to test whether magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET), other biological markers, and clinical and neuropsychological assessment can be combined to measure the progression of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and early Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) has been chosen as one of the 50 sites for this project.

The study could help researchers and clinicians develop new treatments and monitor their effectiveness as well as lessen the time and cost of clinical trials. The project is the most comprehensive effort to date to combine neuroimaging and other biomarkers for the cognitive changes associated with MCI and AD. It seeks to identify relationships among the data that will track and predict the progression of memory loss from its earliest stages.

The study will take place at approximately 50 sites across the U.S. and Canada. In April 2005, investigators will begin recruiting about 800 adults to participate in the research — approximately 200 cognitively normal older individuals to be followed for 3 years, 400 people with MCI to be followed for 3 years, and 200 people with early AD to be followed for 2 years.

The Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative is a resource that will provide information about the brain to researchers studying dementia around the world. The information it collects will be made available to all qualified investigators interested in using this resource. This initiative represents an exciting and powerful commitment by the federal government and private industry to understanding and identifying the earliest changes that take place in the brain with Alzheimer’s disease It is the largest study of it’s kind that has been undertaken to date and should provide the basis for assessing more effective means of managing this disease.

“The Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative is an exciting opportunity to find new targets for therapy among people at risk for memory problems, and we are delighted to be a part of this initiative,”said Robert Green, MD, professor of neurology, genetics and epidemiology and co-principal investigator of the project at BUSM.

“The Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative represents a unique opportunity for us to gain a real understanding of the changes that take place in the brain with mild cognitive impairment and alzheimer’s disease. It should represent hope to the individuals who might be developing this disorder and their families,” added Ron Killiany, PhD, a research associate in anatomy and neurobiology at BUSM and co-principal investigator.

For more information, please visit our website at or call the Boston University Alzheimer’s Disease Center at 1-888-458-BUAD (2823).