The gift will enable ADRC researchers to use precision medicine techniques to study the genes and other factors that drive Alzheimer's, with the goal of creating or finding drugs to treat the disease and understanding how different patients respond to different treatments. In precision medicine, a patient is assessed — genetically, and in other ways — for treatments likely to work best for their individual condition. Through such an approach, the center aims to use exome sequencing to determine a patient's risk of acquiring the disease; use patient-derived stem cells to test potential drugs against the disease; and test the efficacy of an imaging tool called fMRI in detecting physiological changes in the brain before dementia develops. The center also plans to recruit a senior scientist to lead its clinical trials team.
"Alzheimer's is driven by genetics, but it isn't just one disease," said Thomas J. Montine, M.D., Ph.D., ADRC director and chair of UW's Department of Pathology. "It's a disease that has many different subtypes, and one treatment won't work for everyone. Instead, the goal is to create multiple treatments — and see which ones work best for each patient."