Global Down Syndrome Foundation’s Alzheimer’s Initiatives

Global Down Syndrome Foundation’s three focus areas are:

  1. Local/Regional — Raise $5 million to establish a world-class Alzheimer’s Disease Center with a primary focus on Down syndrome at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.
  2. National/International — Raise up to $500,000 a year in conjunction with the national Alzheimer’s Association to fund world-class research specific to the Alzheimer’s-Down syndrome connection through a joint national and international competitive grant program.
  3. Local/National/International Outreach — Raise awareness about the comorbidity of the two conditions and how people can help by participating in clinical trials, volunteering or donating.

Establish a world-class Alzheimer’s disease research & medical care center with a primary focus on Down syndrome in Colorado

There are 27 National Institute on Aging-designated Alzheimer’s Disease Centers in the United States, but not one within a 600-mile radius of Denver or with a primary focus in Down syndrome.

Read about the state of Colorado’s $250,000 commitment to establishing an Alzheimer’s disease research center

Why this is a priority for Global:

  • One in eight older Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease.
  • One in two will suffer from Alzheimer’s after 80 years of age.
  • 5.4 million Americans have Alzheimer’s today, with an estimated 13 million by 2050.
  • The devastating effects on the individual and their families.
  • 100% of people with Down syndrome have the brain pathology of the Alzheimer’s disease and an estimated 50% will develop the symptoms before age 50.
  • Down syndrome occurs when a person has three copies of chromosome 21 instead of two copies. People with Alzheimer’s disease have three copies of the amyloid precursor protein gene (APP) and that gene is on chromosome 21.
  • There is no other National Institute on Aging-designated Alzheimer’s Disease Center with a primary focus on Down syndrome.
  • Scientists believe studying people with Down syndrome will lead to better treatments for people with Alzheimer’s disease.

Down Syndrome-Alzheimer’s Disease Investigator Program

In 2013, the Global Down Syndrome Foundation, Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome and the national Alzheimer’s Association created the Down Syndrome-Alzheimer’s Disease Investigator Program. The program has awarded $1.2 million in grants to 5 scientists to fund groundbreaking research exploring the development of Alzheimer’s disease in individuals with Down syndrome. The program aims to translate the research into improved treatments for all people at risk for Alzheimer’s.

Huaxi Xu

Ann-Charlotte Granholm

Karen Chang

Donna Wilcock

Eitan Okun

Learn more about the grant recipients

About Huntington Potter, Ph.D., Director of Alzheimer’s Research, Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome and University of Colorado School of Medicine Department of Neurology

In July 2012, the Global Down Syndrome Foundation and the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome joined forces with the University of Colorado’s Neurology Department to recruit Dr. Huntington Potter to begin the process of establishing a world-class Alzheimer’s disease research and medical care center.

Dr. Potter is a renowned Alzheimer’s disease researcher who discovered and is devoted to studying the mechanistic relationship between Alzheimer’s and Down syndrome. Recognizing that these conditions are two sides of the same coin and studying them together will hasten the development of new treatments for both.

Learn more about Dr. Huntington Potter and his research