Side view of a head silhouette in blue showing a cloud around the brain to symbolize Alzheimer's disease, which can be caused by carriage of the APOE4 allele
Credit: Naeblys/Getty Images

The Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) and the FINGERS Brain Health Institute (FBHI) have announced a new partnership that will focus on precision preventative measures physicians can take to slow, or potentially prevent, the onset of symptoms in Alzheimer’s disease based on each patient’s molecular profile. The partnership will center on the findings of the Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability (FINGER) trial, a randomized control trial which demonstrated it is possible to prevent cognitive decline using a multidomain lifestyle intervention among older patients who were identified as at risk.

“The ultimate goal in Alzheimer’s treatment, like in cancer, is to deliver the right treatments to the right patients at the right time,” said Howard Fillit, MD, cofounder and chief science officer of the ADDF. “This new partnership will provide the infrastructure and resources to build on recent breakthroughs in drug development coupled with progress in new biomarker and diagnostic tools, enabling clinicians to treat patients through a precision medicine approach tailored to their individual risk profiles. Alzheimer’s is a complex disease, and a one size fits all approach will not effectively treat its varied causes and forms.”

The two partners note in a press release announcing their partnership that up to 40% of dementia cases can be prevent via lifestyle interventions, pointing the way to the potential to prevent of delay AD onset via an approach that pairs lifestyle changes with medications.

“The FINGER study proves lifestyle interventions can effectively contribute to the prevention of Alzheimer’s, but there is the potential to provide even more cognitive benefits through adding therapeutic interventions to the FINGER model,” says Miia Kivipelto, MD, PhD, professor of Clinical Geriatrics at Karolinska Institutet, who led the FINGER study.  Kivipelto is also the scientific founder and medical and scientific director at the FBHI and sits on the board of ADDF.

The ADDF, founded in 1998, is the only public charity with a mission of aiding in the development of drugs to treat AD. It also has a focus of preventing the development of disease symptoms as an effective approaching to treatment and management. Fillit notes that if the onset of AD can be delayed by five years, that incidence rates would drop by as much as 50%. The partnership with FBHI to leverage the findings from the FINGER study combined with the recent approval of anti-amyloid therapies that have been shown to slow cognitive decline represents a new approach to further improving the lives of patients with the disease.

“By uniting the two leaders at the forefront of drug discovery and prevention, this partnership will accelerate the development of the most promising approaches against a complex disease such as Alzheimer’s,” remarks Niranjan Bose, PhD, managing director of Health & Life Sciences at Gates Ventures, which has a history of research and funding in Alzheimer’s disease. “Early lifestyle decisions are the initial steps in preventing Alzheimer’s disease, particularly for individuals with an elevated risk, and this will only be possible if we continue to develop and commercialize new and novel biomarkers, which will have a substantial impact.”

The roadmap for the ADDF-FBHI partnership includes:

  • Expanding the MET-FINGER multi-site clinical trial platform globally, while also exploring studies of repurposed drugs that address pathways guided by the biology of aging (e.g., vascular, inflammation, metabolic, etc.). This model will be used as a template for the next generation of combination clinical trials
  • Accelerating the development of new biomarkers for aging, helping improve Alzheimer’s diagnostics and aiding in the development of novel drugs.
  • Advancing the creation and commercialization of the FINGER App and e-FINGER solutions to improve accessibility for patients globally.
  • Collaborating with major pharmaceutical companies specializing in Alzheimer’s disease to pursue combination therapy clinical trials that include anti-amyloid therapies with the FINGER model.
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