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Open science delivers a wealth of AD/ADRD research data to a portal near you

Suzana Petanceska
Director, Office for Strategic Development and Partnerships,
Division of Neuroscience (DN)
Lorenzo Refolo
Lorenzo REFOLO,
Chief, Translational Research Branch,
Division of Neuroscience (DN)

The COVID-19 pandemic mobilized the global research and development community to embrace open science practices to accelerate the development of effective treatments. As described in this recent commentary by law professor Richard Gold, the COVID-19 crisis is an opportunity to move toward an open science drug discovery model to combat existing and future pandemics.

During the NIH Alzheimer’s Disease Research Summits in 2012, 2015, and 2018, we heard similar calls for open science from a large multi-stakeholder community in Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (AD/ADRD) research. The collective input was the impetus for NIA to develop an array of new translational infrastructure programs, including AMP AD and affiliated target discovery consortia (M2OVE-AD, Resilience-AD, and Psych-AD), and the MODEL-AD and TREAT-AD centers — all of which operate under open science principles — to rapidly deliver data, knowledge, and research tools necessary to overcome key barriers to developing effective therapies.

AD Knowledge Portal and Agora Platform: An evolving data infrastructure

The translational goods being generated by these open-science consortia are distributed under FAIR data principles through the NIA-supported AD Knowledge Portal and the Portal-linked Agora platform. Since these efforts were launched more than five years ago, the AD Knowledge Portal team at Sage Bionetworks has made the growing data resources more accessible and usable by a diverse community of researchers — from data scientists and biologists to translational and clinical researchers. For a user-friendly guide to the AD Knowledge Portal, check out the recently published paper in Current Protocols.

The Agora platform hosts a series of systems biology analyses to explore any gene of interest and more than 500 candidate targets nominated by AMP AD teams, along with the supporting evidence and extensive druggability information developed by AMP AD industry partners. Like the portal, Agora continues to be upgraded with new data and features. The most recent update regards the association between the expression levels of the selected genes and clinicopathologic features of AD.

A big summer wave of new human and mouse models data

It was a busy summer for the AD Portal. The AMP AD, M2OVE-AD, and Resilience-AD teams made available many new multi-omic datasets that include blood RNAseq data from more than 1,200 unique individuals, and new human and mouse single nucleus profiling datasets. The MODEL-AD teams also released a wealth of new data, including deep phenotyping data on existing familial AD, and new, late onset AD mouse models. View the full listing of these and other newly released datasets in the news section of the Portal. Take a moment to visit the experimental tools section of the portal to find out about the new mouse models developed by MODEL-AD and made available without any restrictions for use in basic research or for therapy development.

Sign up for the quarterly newsletter and follow the AD Knowledge Portal on Twitter at @AMPADPortal to learn about new data releases and to stay connected with the community of data contributors.

Open science from targets to trials

NIA continues to expand the use of open science practices across the research continuum to increase research rigor and reproducibility and to advance therapy development for AD/ADRD. Take advantage of all the new resources to enhance your research efforts and join us in embracing open science practices to help accelerate the search for treatment and prevention of these devastating diseases. Stay tuned for Part 2 of this blog post to learn how we are raising the bar on data sharing in clinical trials!

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