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TREAT-AD centers: Open source tools to reinvigorate Alzheimer’s drug discovery

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

Author’s Note: The Division of Neuroscience is grateful for Health Scientist Specialist Jaya Viswanathan’s contributions to this post.

The recent FDA traditional approval of the first disease-modifying drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease in some people is a significant step forward in helping millions of individuals living with this disease or a related dementia. To help sustain this momentum, scientists continue to explore the underlying multiple, interrelated biological pathways that could identify more potential drug targets.

NIA supports target discovery and the development of new drug candidates through its Alzheimer’s and related dementias translational research program. This work has been amplified through two NIA-funded TaRget Enablement to Accelerate Therapy Development for AD (TREAT-AD) translational centers. Since 2019, researchers at these centers have been developing high-quality research tools for novel targets identified through the Accelerating Medicines Partnership® Program for Alzheimer’s Disease (AMP® AD) program and other NIA-supported big data initiatives.

As part of our ongoing efforts to accelerate dementia drug development, we wanted to highlight some powerful ways TREAT-AD open science chemical, biological, and computational tools can help investigators looking to invigorate and diversify the therapeutic pipeline.

Two centers, one mission

The Emory-Sage-Structural Genomics Consortium and Indiana University School of Medicine-Purdue TREAT-AD centers feature complementary approaches to advancing a rich portfolio of candidate targets across many biological pathways. The center teams are developing an array of research tools known as target enabling packages (TEPs) that a broad range of academic and biotech industry scientists can use to study the biology of new and under-studied targets, or as seeds for new drug discovery efforts.

How TREAT-AD resources can benefit your research

TREAT-AD offers a rich set of high-quality analytical and experimental tools, including:

  • TEPs that feature validated commercial antibodies, protein structures, genetically modified cell lines, and assay protocols to aid in the validation of a wide range of novel targets. These TEPs and related data are available through the AD Knowledge Portal.
  • The AD Informer Set contains chemical tools that modulate over 98 novel targets nominated by the AMP® AD research teams. These tools can be used to learn more about the biology of the disease in cell-based and animal models, and aid in the discovery of new potential therapeutic agents. Order the AD Informer Set and use it to study your protein/pathway of interest!

Dive into the toolbox

TREAT-AD research teams will continue to enrich the portfolio of target-enabling resources, so stay tuned for updates! If you have questions, email Lorenzo or Suzana, or leave a comment below!

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