Early Alzheimer's Study Receives Additional Genetic Funding

Aug 19, 2019

The Alzheimer's Association of Greater Indiana donates funding for the study lead by Indiana University School of Medicine researchers. (Jill Sheridan/IPB News)

The first large-scale study of early onset Alzheimer’s disease is led out of Indiana. A new grant will enable the study to add on genetic research.

The Longitudinal Early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease Study or LEADS launched in 2017 with a goal to better understand Alzheimer’s. Indiana University School of Medicine Dr. Liana Apostolova leads the trial. 

"These patients get the disease so early," says Apostolova. "There must be additional risks that they carry especially in their genes and lifestyles."

The Alzheimer’s Association Greater Indiana Chapter is gifting $1 million, the group’s largest research investment ever. The money will allow researchers to study the entire genome of all 600 trial participants.

Emily Wilson helps provide care for her mother who has the disease. She knows there is still a lot to learn.

"This will hopefully help us figure out what makes early onset Alzheimer’s so different from the later onset," says Wilson. 

Less than 5 percent of Alzheimer’s cases are defined as early onset. Apostolova says genetics are an important piece of the puzzle and this funding will allow deeper study.

"We’re going to explore all the genetic influences on Alzheimer’s disease," says Apostolova. 

All the genetic sequencing will happen in Indiana. The multi-site study launched in 2017 and has received more than $50 million in federal funding.

Contact Jill at jsheridan@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter @JillASheridan.