SOURCE: Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation

January 15, 2008 12:49 ET

Awards for Drug Discovery Research for Frontotemporal Dementia Announced

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - January 15, 2008) - The Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) and the Association for Frontotemporal Dementia (AFTD) are pleased to announce the recipients of their joint grant program for drug discovery research to accelerate the development of novel therapies for frontotemporal dementia (FTD).

"Through our partnership, we are providing high risk, early stage funding for FTD drug discovery research that will ultimately improve the lives of people suffering this terrible disease, with implications for Alzheimer's disease therapeutics as well," said Howard M. Fillit, MD, ADDF Executive Director. "Today, we understand much more about the causes of neurodegeneration in FTD, so it is timely to begin testing novel approaches to discovering new compounds for drug development."

FTD is a neurodegenerative disease that accounts for an estimated 10% of all cases of dementia. After Alzheimer's disease, FTD is the second leading cause of presenile dementia in people 40-60 years of age. FTD results from progressive degeneration of the anterior temporal and frontal lobes of the brain. The initial symptoms of FTD are often a decline in social and/or occupational functioning, change in personality and/or language disorders that are followed in the later stages by memory loss and other cognitive problems. Currently, there are no treatments for FTD, which is why this drug discovery program is so important for patients and families affected by this disease.

"There is still an enormous amount of work ahead," said Philip Lovett, member of the AFTD Board of Directors. "We are pleased that the ADDF/AFTD program attracted many quality applications, another indication that FTD drug discovery is receiving increasing attention from research laboratories all over the world."

The ADDF/AFTD program awarded $300,000 to four international academic scientists. The program will provide a total of $900,000 in research grants over three years. The winners of this year's grant competition are: Ben Bahr, PhD, University of Connecticut; Larry Baum, PhD, The Chinese University of Hong Kong; Tara Spires-Jones, DPhil, Massachusetts General Hospital; and David Vocadlo, PhD, Simon Fraser University. A panel of 15 members from ADDF's Scientific Review Board reviewed 21 applications submitted from the USA, Hong Kong, Portugal and Israel.

About the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF)

The Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) is a public charity established in 2004 to expand upon the programs initiated by the Institute for the Study of Aging (ISOA), a private foundation founded by the Estee Lauder family in 1998. The organization's sole mission is to accelerate drug discovery research to prevent, treat and cure Alzheimer's disease, related dementias and cognitive aging through venture philanthropy. To date, ADDF and ISOA have awarded $28.7 million for 195 research programs and conferences worldwide. For more information about the ADDF, visit www.alzdiscovery.org.

About the Association for Frontotemporal Dementia (AFTD)

The Association for Frontotemporal Dementias (AFTD) is a nationwide non-profit organization whose mission is to promote and fund research into finding the cause and cure for the frontotemporal dementias; to provide information, education, and support to persons diagnosed with frontotemporal dementias (FTD) and their families and caregivers; and to educate physicians and allied health professionals about FTD. In addition to providing funding for this drug discovery program, AFTD continues to fund basic and clinical research that is essential to improving our understanding of this relatively rare, but significant disease. For more information about AFTD, visit www.ftd-picks.org.

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