Twenty-four University of British Columbia researchers are bringing their expertise to a nationwide investigation of dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Federal health officials announced the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA), a five-year, $31.5 million commitment to combat a condition that is estimated to affect 1.4 million Canadians by 2031.
The UBC researchers are part of the national team of 300 investigators, including Dr. Howard Feldman of UBC’s Division of Neurology, who will serve on CCNA’s executive committee and oversee academic clinical trials and drug discovery for new treatments.
The CCNA will focus its work on delaying the onset of dementia and related illnesses, preventing illnesses from occurring and improving the quality of life of Canadians living with these illnesses.
Quotes from Dr. Howard Feldman:
On prevention: “We have to understand the root causes of dementia so we might be able to intervene before the disease is fully established.”
On mechanisms of the disease: “We’re working from the viewpoint that the aging brain is the host of multiple pathologies that cause disease and dementia. That’s a paradigm shift from the traditional dogma, which for the last 40 years has said there’s a single cause for the disease.”
On quality of life: “While all the research for causes and treatments runs in the background, we don’t want to forget people suffering from dementia today. We’d like to see CCNA produce clinical trials for interventions at nursing homes, to improve care and quality of life in those settings.”
CCNA funding comes from the federal government through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and a group of 13 public and private sector partners. See the CIHR release here.