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NCRAD poised for major expansion

Nina Silverberg
Director, Alzheimer's Disease Centers Program,
Division of Neuroscience (DN)

Infrastructure may seem like an odd word to use when thinking about research into Alzheimer’s disease. We want to see clinical trial results. We want answers on the basic mechanisms. We want prevention measures. And we want them all now! Infrastructure may seem less exciting, but it’s absolutely necessary to achieve our goals for research in Alzheimer’s disease. That’s why NIA has substantially increased the grant award to the Indiana University School of Medicine for the National Centralized Repository for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias (NCRAD). NCRAD stores DNA and other biological samples used by researchers around the world to better understand, treat, and hopefully cure Alzheimer's disease. It provides critical infrastructure to further research into the basic mechanisms of the disease.

NIA has expanded the size of NCRAD to allow greatly increased capacity to store and share samples with interested investigators. Such researchers would otherwise need to seek out smaller sample sets from different sites—a little like crowd-sourcing instead of having a single large donor. NCRAD will continue to provide centralized, state-of-the-art protocols and training to collect and process a wide range of samples. It will also continue efficiently reviewing sample requests to ensure that these research resources are used wisely.

We anticipate that expanding NCRAD in this way will allow a large number and broader range of studies—now including induced pluripotent stem cell lines—to advance. This new work will help the national goal of developing ways to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease and its related dementias by 2025.

In case you don’t know NCRAD

NCRAD’s goal is to support research focused on the origin, early detection, and therapeutic development for AD/ADRD. First funded by NIA in 1990, NCRAD is a national resource where clinical information and biological materials such as DNA, plasma, serum, RNA, cerebral spinal fluid, cell lines, and brain tissue can be stored.

NCRAD collects, maintains, and provides scientists with access to more than 600,000 biological samples. The repository’s resources have been used by more than 150 scientists and resulted in more than 500 scientific publications.

With the increased funding support, we expect that the biobank will receive 300,000 additional specimens in the next three years. I encourage you to contact NCRAD if you’re interested in banking samples from your studies to facilitate sample sharing, or if you’d like to use existing samples to pursue new and innovative research ideas for AD/ADRD.

We are pleased to support the NCRAD expansion, which we hope will play a key role in the race to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Please contact me or comment below if you have questions.


Submitted by Ruby Castilla-… on September 19, 2018

Dear Nina, I really aplaude this amazing initiative. I am currently the Elected President of the American Society of Hispanic Psychiatry and I am very interested in create collaborations to support research and researchers including Hispanic/Latino communities.

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