Alzheimer's Disease Fact Sheet
CIRM funds many projects seeking to better understand the origins of Alzheimer's disease and to translate those discoveries into new therapies.
If you want to learn more about CIRM funding decisions or make a comment directly to our board, join us at a public meeting. You can find agendas for upcoming public meetings on our meetings page.
Find clinical trials:
CIRM does not track stem cell clinical trials. If you or a family member is interested in participating in a clinical trial, please see the national trial database to find a trial near you: clinicaltrials.gov
Stem cell research for Alzheimer's disease
Roughly five million people are living with Alzheimer’s disease in the U.S. today. Those people generally live much shorter lives and their medical expenses, combined with lost income for both them and their caregivers, exceeds $170 billion a year. Alzheimer’s disease is currently the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. There are no drugs to treat the disease, although some do relieve symptoms.
One problem that has slowed new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease is the fact that no animal model truly mimics the disease. Drugs that have effectively treated animals with a form of Alzheimer’s haven’t worked in humans. What that means is that we need a better way of finding new drugs. California’s stem cell agency funds several awards to researchers who are creating stem cell models of the disease in a lab dish using cells from Alzheimer’s patients. They can then test drugs on those Alzheimer’s disease neurons to look for ones that eliminate symptoms of the disease. These models are the only way of testing drugs in actual human cells.
The agency also funds teams that are in the early stages of developing potential therapies using stem cells. Some groups are trying to mature embryonic stem cells into a cell type that can be transplanted into the brain to replace cells that are destroyed in the disease. Others are simply using stem cells as a way of delivering factors that appear to protect brain cells. One team is trying to use stem cells to clear out the protein that builds up and clogs neurons in Alzheimer’s patients.
Disease Team Award
Stem Cells Inc.
This team proposes to inject adult brain stem cells into the front section of the brain. They have shown in animal models that these cells produce chemicals that appear to help protect existing nerve cells. They plan to use this award to produce cells that meet the high standards needed to get FDA approval and to complete the testing required before they can begin clinical trials in people.
CIRM Grants Targeting Alzheimer's Disease
CIRM Alzheimer's Disease Videos
News and Information
- CIRMResearch blog entries on Alzheimer's disease research
- Neural stem cells offer potential treatment for Alzheimer's disease (UC Irvine)
- Living with Alzheimer's Disease: Dick Mora (CIRM)
- NIH: Alzheimer's Disease Fact Sheet
- CDC: Alzheimer's Disease Information
- Find a clinical trial near you: NIH Clinical Trials database
- Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center
- Mayo Clinic Alzheimer's Diseae information center
- Alzheimer's Research Forum
- Alzheimer's Association
- Alzheimer's Association Diversity Toolbox
- Alzheimer's Foundation of America
- Leeza's Place
- Family Caregiver Alliance
- National Family Caregivers Association