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Academy Seeks Biomarkers for Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia

Announces challenge grant in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation.

Published July 17, 2012

NEW YORK, July 17, 2012—The New York Academy of Sciences, in partnership with the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF), announced a challenge grant to accelerate discovery of improved biomarkers for Alzheimer's disease and dementia.

Despite a proliferation of research resources devoted to Alzheimer's disease and dementia, conditions that affect millions of people in the U.S. alone, there are few therapeutic options to treat the symptoms or causes of these devastating diseases. Progress in developing effective Alzheimer's disease and dementia therapeutics has been hampered by a lack of short-term, sensitive biomarkers that correlate closely to clinical outcomes. The Academy and the ADDF recently issued a request for proposals (RFP) for the development and validation of biomarkers that meet this unmet need.

"Identifying and verifying biomarkers for Alzheimer's diseases is critical," said Howard Fillit, MD, executive director of the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation. "In addition to playing a role in early diagnosis, improved biomarkers could rapidly accelerate the development of new drugs for the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias."

Such accelerated drug discovery is desperately needed worldwide. For example, in the U.S., rates of age-associated neurological diseases are rising due to an aging population, causing immense personal suffering, as well as putting even greater strain on an already overburdened health system.

Priority areas for this RFP include:

  • non-amyloid biomarkers of early-disease progression,
  • detection of synaptic and/or neuronal loss, and
  • dynamic biomarkers with sensitivity to detect change in as little as weeks.


Non-profit academic institutions from around the world are encouraged to submit a proposal. Higher priority will be given to applications that involve cross-sector or interdisciplinary collaborations and innovative ideas. The winning proposal will receive $140,000 (with the possibility of follow-on funding). The challenge grants will be partially funded through a grant from AstraZeneca.

The deadline date for applications is August 15, 2012. Submission of a letter of intent is required prior to August 1, 2012. Applications will be confidentially reviewed by the ADDF and an external Scientific Review Committee. The award winner will be publicly announced in late 2012. 

For more information and to submit a letter of intent and application, visit

About The Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation
The mission of the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) is to accelerate the discovery of drugs to prevent, treat and cure Alzheimer's disease, related dementias and cognitive aging. The ADDF has granted more than $51 million to fund over 370 Alzheimer's drug discovery programs in academic centers and biotechnology companies in 18 countries. For more information, please visit

About the New York Academy of Sciences
The New York Academy of Sciences is an independent, not-for-profit organization that since 1817 has been committed to advancing science, technology, and society worldwide. With 25,000 members in 140 countries, the Academy is creating a global community of science for the benefit of humanity. The Academy's core mission is to advance scientific knowledge, positively impact the major global challenges of society with science-based solutions, and increase the number of scientifically informed individuals in society at large. Please visit us online at