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UW-Madison to Create National Alzheimer's Research Center

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Toni Morrissey
(608) 263-3223

Madison, Wisconsin — Gov. Jim Doyle announced today (May 4) that the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH) has been awarded a multimillion dollar grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to create an Alzheimer's Disease Research Center.


"The University of Wisconsin-Madison is the envy of the nation, and I am proud that we will begin a new era of medical research here in Madison," Doyle said. "The Alzheimer's Research Center will build on the innovative approaches by the Wisconsin Alzheimer's disease research team. Together, they will continue to search for cures and treatments for this heartbreaking disease that affects millions of families."


"The grant is a testament to the pre-eminent status and remarkable resources and expertise of geriatric programs at the University of Wisconsin," said Sanjay Asthana, MD, Duncan G. and Lottie H. Ballantine Chair of Geriatrics and professor of medicine at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. "To receive NIH funding for the Alzheimer's center, we had to show a commitment to innovative research, from basic to clinical, and demonstrate we can offer resources both regionally and nationally."


The five-year, $6,871,960 grant is funded by the NIH's National Institute on Aging. The Alzheimer's Disease Research Center (ADRC) will be based at the UW Section of Geriatrics and Gerontology at the School of Medicine and Public Health and the Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center of the William S. Middleton Veterans Hospital.


UW-Madison will be only the 17th institution in the United States to be designated as an Alzheimer's Disease Research Center.


"Innovative research is carried out most effectively when there is a critical mass of talented researchers at an outstanding medical research institution," said Creighton Phelps, PhD, who directs the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center program at the National Institute on Aging. "The University of Wisconsin ADRC is a welcome addition to our network of centers."


As many as 5 million Americans may have Alzheimer's disease. It is estimated that 16 million will be diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease by 2050. Alzheimer's disease is the sixth most common cause of death in the United States.


The mission of the Wisconsin Alzheimer's Disease Research Center will be to develop novel strategies to diagnose and treat Alzheimer's disease at a stage when patients have no symptoms. Development of such strategies will help identify individuals at risk for Alzheimer's and give patients treatments that can either slow or stop the progression of the disease.


The Alzheimer's Disease Research Center will build on the work of the geriatrics program at the UW-Madison's Alzheimer's Institute, whose innovative programs include the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer's Prevention.


The registry is an NIH-funded longitudinal study of middle-aged, asymptomatic children of Alzheimer's disease patients. The program has enrolled more than 1,300 participants for research on risks, causes, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of Alzheimer's disease, and has provided scientific evidence that underscores the significance of family history as a pivotal risk factor for Alzheimer's disease.


The National Institute on Aging (NIA) leads the federal government effort conducting and supporting research on the biomedical, social and behavioral issues of older people. For more information on aging-related research and the NIA, go to

Date Published: 05/04/2009

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UW-Madison to Create National Alzheimer's Research Center

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