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$3.7M funds Alzheimer’s research consortium and projects


Montreal, QC – Pfizer Canada is providing $3.7 million in funding to support a consortium on the early detection of Alzheimer’s disease and six related projects. The funding is provided through the Pfizer-FRQS Innovation Fund for Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders, a research grant program overseen by the FRQS.

“Thanks to this partnership with Pfizer Canada, our researchers now have the means to pool their expertise and undertake innovative projects,” said Prof. Rémi Quirion, Québec’s chief scientist and chairman of the board of directors of the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQS). “The scientists will have the opportunity to focus on determining markers and early treatment options for the disease. These measures will enable Québec’s research community to become even more competitive in the field of Alzheimer’s disease in Canada and abroad.”

The grant program has been such a success that the FRQS and Pfizer say they plan to launch a second round of the projects competition in July 2014.

Receiving funding in this round are:

1) Creation of a consortium for the early detection of Alzheimer’s disease. The Consortium pour l’identification précoce de la maladie d’Alzheimer – Québec (CIMA-Q) aims to develop means to provide an earlier diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and better understand the causes of the disease so as to develop effective treatment options. The consortium is led by Sylvie Belleville, researcher and director of research centre of the Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal, affiliated with the Université de Montréal, and by Andréa LeBlanc, researcher at the Bloomfield Centre for Research in Aging of the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research. The CIMA-Q brings together over 90 Québec researchers in fields related to Alzheimer’s disease. The group will receive $2.5M in funding over three years.

2) Support for six high-risk projects with significant potential benefits. Researchers affiliated with several Québec universities will pilot the six projects supported by the Pfizer-FRQS Innovation Fund for Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. Each initiative will receive up to $200,000 to better understand the disease, validate the most effective diagnostic methods and determine new therapeutic approaches.

The six Alzheimer’s Fund projects are (alphabetically by PI surname):

  • Marc-André Bédard, Montréal Neurological Institute / UQAM. Validating 18F-Fluoroethoxybenzovesamicol (FEOBV) as a biomarker of Alzheimer disease.
  • Frédéric Calon, Centre de recherche du CHUQ / Université Laval. Gene therapy to increase glucose uptake: application in an animal model of Alzheimer disease.
  • Claudio Cuello, McGill University. New, non-invasive tools for the early detection of the pathology of Alzheimer disease.
  • Jean-Pierre Julien, Université Laval. Nanobodies targeting TDP-43 for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.
  • Nicole Leclerc, Université de Montréal. Mechanisms involved in the propagation of tau pathology in Alzheimer disease.
  • Keith Murai, McGill University Health Centre / McGill University. Investigations into microglia-astrocyte interactions in Alzheimer disease.