The USC Alzheimer’s Therapeutic Research Institute (USC ATRI) brought together the top minds working to find a cure for a disease that affects more than 5 million Americans at its annual partnership meeting in San Diego early this month.

More than 170 people from the Alzheimer’s disease research field, including some of the top clinical trial principal investigators from around the U.S., mingled at a reception and dinner at the Omni San Diego Hotel on Feb. 1. They discussed the latest advances in therapeutic research as well as progress toward curing Alzheimer’s disease.

“Our third annual partnership meeting was an invigorating experience for ATRI,” said Paul Aisen, MD, professor of neurology and director of USC ATRI at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. “Our colleagues are energized, optimistic and eager to continue our collaboration toward successful therapeutic advances.”

USC Provost Michael Quick, PhD, greeted guests at the dinner and reception. The next day, the researchers began serious talks about current and potential Alzheimer’s disease research collaborations. Facilitating these important discussions is the goal of the annual USC ATRI Partnership Meeting.

Reisa Sperling, MD, MMSc, professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, and Ronald Petersen, MD, PhD, at Mayo Clinic, spoke about Alzheimer’s prevention trials, including the EARLY Trial and the A4 Study.

Aisen talked about how USC ATRI will collaborate with Sperling and Petersen on a $70 million National Institutes of Health-funded effort to accelerate clinical trials and find new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease. Called the Alzheimer’s Clinical Trial Consortium (ACTC), it builds a nationwide Alzheimer’s infrastructure that removes roadblocks in the development of Alzheimer’s treatment.

Aisen highlighted the recently launched Alzheimer’s Prevention Trials (APT) Webstudy, a web-based tool to speed up enrollment for Alzheimer’s clinical trials that will identify and track people who may be at high risk for developing Alzheimer’s dementia. People who qualify will have the opportunity to participate in comprehensive evaluations at one of many nationwide clinical sites and may have the opportunity to participate in trials to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

Other highlights included presentations by USC ATRI project collaborators such as Christopher van Dyck, MD, from Yale School of Medicine; Liana Apostolova, MD, MSc, from Indiana University School of Medicine; Suzanne Craft, PhD, from Wake Forest University; and Paul Newhouse, MD, from Vanderbilt University.

Since its founding in June 2015, USC ATRI has grown from a team of 30 to 120 faculty and staff. For more information, go to

— Karen Bowman