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Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Leadership Council Holds Inaugural Meeting

Council convenes at the New York Academy of Sciences to discuss strategies for tackling barriers to translation in dementia.

Published November 28, 2011

NEW YORK, November 23, 2011- The newly created Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia Leadership Council gathered for its inaugural meeting at the New York Academy of Sciences on Tuesday, November 15. The leadership council, consisting of key opinion leaders in industry, academia, and government, is charged with creating strategic objectives for the Academy's Translational Science Initiative, which aims to accelerate the transfer of basic scientific discoveries into new methods for diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease, initially focused on Alzheimer's disease and dementia.

The Academy is partnering with One Mind for Research (, the first organization that brings together the science, technology, financial resources, and knowledge required to create an unprecedented understanding of brain disease, to drive translation in disease states related to dementia. "The prevalence of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, is increasing in the U.S. and around the globe. The associated burden on individuals, families, and whole economies is enormous and growing," said Leadership Council Co-chair Michael Ehlers, senior vice president and chief scientific officer, Neuroscience, Pfizer Inc.

During the meeting the leadership council listened to talks from members representing industry (Council Co-chairs Michael Ehlers and Jeffrey S. Nye, Johnson and Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development, LLC), academia (Sam Gandy, Mount Sinai School of Medicine), and government (Marc Walton, FDA) to help frame their thinking around the challenges that need to be overcome to achieve the goals of the council.

"Now is the time for governments, foundations, and companies to develop a holistic strategy to better enable the development of new medicines. This partnership between the New York Academy of Sciences and One Mind for Research is an important step forward in bringing key institutions together to tackle this urgent public health crisis," said Ehlers.

Members of the leadership council broke out into interdisciplinary working groups to discuss bottlenecks and barriers to translation in dementia and define the council's goals. Council members committed to participating in ongoing working groups to develop action plans focused on overcoming barriers and promoting progress in this vital area of research and discovery.

Through the guidance of the leadership council, the Academy aims to leverage its strengths alongside the assets of One Mind for Research to push progress in the area of dementia treatment. As they related to guests at the Academy's 8th Annual Science and The City Gala on November 14, both of One Mind for Research's co-chairs, former Congressman Patrick Kennedy and Garen Staglin, have been touched by the effects of brain disorders in family members. Thus, they are committed to working with the Academy to take on the large, but critical task of tackling regulatory issues, advancing basic science, and accelerating the development of improved diagnostics, preventative measures, and disease-modifying therapeutics for dementia.

These efforts are made possible with support from AstraZeneca, Takeda, and One Mind for Research, whose first major corporate sponsor through the Healthy Minds initiative was Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research and Development, LLC, along with Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson.

About the New York Academy of Sciences
The New York Academy of Sciences is an independent, not-for-profit organization committed to advancing science, technology, and society worldwide since 1817. 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