RADNOR, Pa., Oct. 28, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Researchers studying frontotemporal degeneration (FTD) disease, a leading cause of early onset dementia, will receive more than $30 million over the next five years in grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The funding will be used to further scientific collaboration and investigate new treatments in the quest to find a cure for FTD.
FTD received a total of four grants, each independently peer reviewed, that will allow for building reliable clinical networks to diagnose and treat FTD and related variants; recruiting FTD-causing gene mutation carriers for study; and study of a specific genetic mutation that is the most common cause of both inherited FTD and inherited ALS.
"The FTD community is extremely gratified to be the recipient of this unprecedented level of funding that we believe is the result of the tremendous momentum underway in FTD science," said Susan Dickinson, Executive Director of The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration (AFTD). "What started with FTD's recent inclusion in national research priorities to cure Alzheimer's disease and other dementias by 2025, has now catapulted into what promises to be significant progress in learning about this debilitating neurodegenerative disease."
Three of the grants, totaling $5.9 million per year, are being 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). The three projects will enable scientists to collaborate on research approaches for FTD, with the goal of diagnosing and treating patients more effectively. For more information about these projects, click here.
"The projects aim to advance our understanding of FTD 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.
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.
About FTD FTD is a rare disease, affecting approximately 50,000 nationwide. It is a debilitating form of dementia that affects the frontal and/or temporal lobes of the brain. FTD strikes people in the prime of life--typically between ages 50 and 60--and erodes their ability to speak, move and/or behave within social norms. There is no known cure for FTD. Current treatments may address symptoms but do not alter or slow disease progression. For those affected, getting a correct diagnosis is challenging, as many physicians are unfamiliar with FTD.