The NIH will award three large, five-year projects on a specific form of dementia, known as frontotemporal because of the areas of the brain that are affected. The projects, funded by the NIH's National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), will receive more than $5.9 million for 2014.
Approximately 50,000 Americans live with frontotemporal degeneration, or FTD, which causes severe behavioral changes and problems with language and cognition. As the disease progresses, individuals have difficulty planning activities, interacting with others and caring for themselves.
"The grants cover a wide spectrum of FTD research, from fundamental discoveries of the genetics behind this disorder to testing potential therapies in patients. We hope that these projects will provide answers and new avenues of treatment for this devastating condition," said Walter Koroshetz, M.D., acting director of NINDS.
"The projects aim to advance our understanding of frontotemporal degeneration by improving diagnosis, identifying preventive strategies and providing new insights into the genetics underlying this complex disorder," said Margaret Sutherland, Ph.D., program director at NINDS.
"These multicenter, multi-disciplinary projects will enable scientists to combine their areas of expertise to design novel approaches for FTD research, with the ultimate goal of providing treatments to more patients more efficiently," said Pamela McInnes, D.D.S., M.Sc.(Dent.), deputy director of NCATS.
The grants are:
A fourth grant is part of $29 million in research earmarked for the Rare Diseases Clinical Research Network, a network of 22 consortia dedicated to furthering translational research and investigating new treatments for patients with rare diseases. The major focus of this grant is to study ALS, including the disease variant of ALS with FTD.