The Alzheimer’s Therapeutic Research Institute (ATRI) of the Keck School of Medicine of USC is one of 25 premier research institutions that received a $4.7 million award to advance research on Down syndrome. The project, titled “Clinical Trials to Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease in Down Syndrome,” (ACTC-DS) will be a multi-year effort to design and conduct clinical trials for a genetic form of Alzheimer’s disease that is known to occur in people with Down syndrome.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Investigation of Co-occurring Conditions Across the Lifespan to Understand Down Syndrome (INCLUDE) project is a trans-NIH effort that will fund research investigating critical health and quality-of-life needs for individuals with Down syndrome, while simultaneously investigating the risk and resilience factors for co-occurring conditions shared with individuals who do not have Down syndrome. The ATRI effort is funded through the INCLUDE project.

“Individuals with Down syndrome are both affected by and protected against many of the conditions that afflict the general population,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD. “By improving our understanding of the basic biological mechanisms of Down syndrome, and making clinical trials more accessible and specifically tailored to individuals with Down syndrome, we expect that research from the INCLUDE project will benefit everyone.”

The ACTC-DS consortium builds upon the existing depth and breadth of expertise of the NIH-funded Alzheimer’s Clinical Trial Consortium (ACTC) as well as the NIH-funded Alzheimer’s Biomarkers Consortium for Down syndrome (ABC-DS) to conduct clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease in adults with DS.

“The ACTC-DS network will serve as a platform for bringing the latest and most innovative Alzheimer’s disease therapies to the Down syndrome population,” said Michael Rafii, MD, PhD, associate professor of clinical neurology at the Keck School, principal investigator of ACTC-DS and ATRI medical director.