FNIH And Geoffrey Beene Foundation Alzheimer’s Initiative Launch Innovation Challenge to Male/Female Differences in Alzheimer’s Disease

FNIH And Geoffrey Beene Foundation Alzheimer’s Initiative Launch Innovation Challenge to Male/Female Differences in Alzheimer’s Disease


2013 Geoffrey Beene Global NeuroDiscovery Challenge to Award $100,000 in Prizes

BETHESDA, MD, April 30, 2013 — The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, in association with the Geoffrey Beene Foundation Alzheimer’s Initiative, today announced the first-ever challenge to identify male/female differences in the early cognitive decline that precedes Alzheimer’s disease.

The 2013 Geoffrey Beene Global NeuroDiscovery Challenge calls for original and innovative hypotheses on gender differences in pathology and neurodegenerative decline leading to Alzheimer’s disease. The goal is to gain critical insight into this fatal, neurodegenerative disease to promote earlier interventions for both women and men. The challenge is being launched in support of WomenAgainstAlzheimer’s, a new network of prominent women leaders nationwide working to speed up the pace of Alzheimer’s research. The winning submissions will share $100,000 in prize awards.

“This challenge is a unique opportunity to stimulate and expand the scientific inquiry on gender differences in Alzheimer’s disease to a broad community of investigators,” noted Charles Sanders, MD, Chairman of the FNIH Board of Directors. “It further illustrates the power of joining the private and public sectors in partnership to overcome hurdles that will help patients worldwide.”

“We are delighted to stand with the Geoffrey Beene Foundation Alzheimer’s Initiative in issuing this challenge,” said Maria Freire, Ph.D., President of the FNIH, which manages the partnership for the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI), a significant study of the progression of Alzheimer’s disease that is one of the great success stories of NIH National Institute on Aging and private-sector funding. “By inviting researchers to ‘mine the data’ and tap into the investment by NIH and others in building the ADNI database, we also celebrate the critical role played by patients who have stepped up to be part of scientific studies by contributing their data to advance research.”

“Women are two times at risk for Alzheimer’s because we outlive men, but we know little about other possible male/female differences. If what’s been discovered in cardiovascular disease in terms of different symptoms, diagnosis and treatment for men and women, is also true for Alzheimer’s, it’s time to find out,” said Meryl Comer, president and CEO of the Geoffrey Beene Foundation Alzheimer’s Initiative and a founder of WomenAgainstAlzheimer’s. “We are also very grateful to the NIH National Institute on Aging for its technical support on this challenge.”

In the United States, women represent two out of three patients with Alzheimer’s, the nation’s sixth leading cause of death. Alzheimer’s deaths rose 68% from 2000 to 2010. In addition to the enormous physical and emotional burdens on patients, families, and caregivers, the disease is also costly. Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia in the U.S. cost up to $215 billion annually, according to a new RAND Corporation study funded by the NIH National Institute on Aging and published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Around 70% of the cost of care, or $142 billion, is paid by Medicare and Medicaid. By 2050, costs to Medicare and Medicaid are expected to increase more than 500%. In addition, this year more than 15 million Americans, mostly women, will provide unpaid care for Alzheimer’s patients, valued at more than $216 billion.

Globally, the World Alzheimer’s Report 2010 estimates some 36 million people with dementia, nearly two-thirds of whom live in low and middle income countries, costing upwards of $600 billion, or 1% of global GDP.

The challenge was launched April 29 at the Society for Women’s Health Research Gala in Washington, D.C. Proposals will be accepted from April 29 through August 31 at 5:00 PM EST. Other prestigious supporting organizations include the Institute of Medicine, the Society for Women’s Health Research and the 21st Century BrainTrust™. A distinguished panel of judges will review submissions for scientific merit and innovation. Finalists and the challenge winner will be announced in late fall 2013.

Technical support for the challenge is provided by the National Institute on Aging (NIA). NIA, one of the 27 institutes and centers of NIH, leads the ADNI public-private partnership and supports the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center (NACC), two databases the challenge invites applicants to mine.

For more information or to submit proposals, please visit www.geoffreybeenechallenge.org

About Foundation for NIH
Established by the United States Congress to support the mission of the NIH—improving health through scientific discovery in the search for cures—the Foundation for NIH is a leader in identifying and addressing complex scientific and health issues. FNIH coordinates the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, a partnership co-funded by the NIH National Institute on Aging and the private sector. Now in its third phase, ADNI studies changes in the brains of people with normal function, mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s.

About Geoffrey Beene Foundation Alzheimer’s Initiative
The Geoffrey Beene Foundation Alzheimer’s Initiative—launched in November 2007 and funded solely by Geoffrey Beene, LLC and the Geoffrey Beene Foundation—has made contributions in excess of $4.7 million to support next generation research in early diagnostics and groundbreaking awareness programs to expose the impact of the Alzheimer’s epidemic on individuals, families and our health care system. Contributions include catalyst funding for the National Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry; the award-winning Rock Stars of Science™ campaign; marquis sponsorship of HBO’s “The Alzheimer’s Project” documentary series; co-sponsorship of the Alzheimer’s Challenge 2012; and co-founder of the 21st Century BrainTrust™.


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