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1.  Developing a national strategy to prevent dementia: Leon Thal Symposium 2009 
Among the major impediments to the design of clinical trials for the prevention of Alzheimer's disease (AD), the most critical is the lack of validated biomarkers, assessment tools, and algorithms that would facilitate identification of asymptomatic individuals with elevated risk who might be recruited as study volunteers. Thus, the Leon Thal Symposium 2009 (LTS'09), on October 27–28, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada, was convened to explore strategies to surmount the barriers in designing a multisite, comparative study to evaluate and validate various approaches for detecting and selecting asymptomatic people at risk for cognitive disorders/dementia. The deliberations of LTS'09 included presentations and reviews of different approaches (algorithms, biomarkers, or measures) for identifying asymptomatic individuals at elevated risk for AD who would be candidates for longitudinal or prevention studies. The key nested recommendations of LTS'09 included: (1) establishment of a National Database for Longitudinal Studies as a shared research core resource; (2) launch of a large collaborative study that will compare multiple screening approaches and biomarkers to determine the best method for identifying asymptomatic people at risk for AD; (3) initiation of a Global Database that extends the concept of the National Database for Longitudinal Studies for longitudinal studies beyond the United States; and (4) development of an educational campaign that will address public misconceptions about AD and promote healthy brain aging.
doi:10.1016/j.jalz.2010.01.008
PMCID: PMC4298995  PMID: 20298968
Alzheimer's disease; Dementia; Mild cognitive impairment; Prevention; Biomarkers; Diagnosis; Screening; Clinical trials; MCI; Asymptomatic; Risk factors; Registry; Longitudinal studies; Database; PAD2020; Leon Thal Symposium; Treatment; Drug development; Health policy
2.  Accelerating drug discovery for Alzheimer's disease: best practices for preclinical animal studies 
Animal models have contributed significantly to our understanding of the underlying biological mechanisms of Alzheimer's disease (AD). As a result, over 300 interventions have been investigated and reported to mitigate pathological phenotypes or improve behavior in AD animal models or both. To date, however, very few of these findings have resulted in target validation in humans or successful translation to disease-modifying therapies. Challenges in translating preclinical studies to clinical trials include the inability of animal models to recapitulate the human disease, variations in breeding and colony maintenance, lack of standards in design, conduct and analysis of animal trials, and publication bias due to under-reporting of negative results in the scientific literature. The quality of animal model research on novel therapeutics can be improved by bringing the rigor of human clinical trials to animal studies. Research communities in several disease areas have developed recommendations for the conduct and reporting of preclinical studies in order to increase their validity, reproducibility, and predictive value. To address these issues in the AD community, the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation partnered with Charles River Discovery Services (Morrisville, NC, USA) and Cerebricon Ltd. (Kuopio, Finland) to convene an expert advisory panel of academic, industry, and government scientists to make recommendations on best practices for animal studies testing investigational AD therapies. The panel produced recommendations regarding the measurement, analysis, and reporting of relevant AD targets, th choice of animal model, quality control measures for breeding and colony maintenance, and preclinical animal study design. Major considerations to incorporate into preclinical study design include a priori hypotheses, pharmacokinetics-pharmacodynamics studies prior to proof-of-concept testing, biomarker measurements, sample size determination, and power analysis. The panel also recommended distinguishing between pilot 'exploratory' animal studies and more extensive 'therapeutic' studies to guide interpretation. Finally, the panel proposed infrastructure and resource development, such as the establishment of a public data repository in which both positive animal studies and negative ones could be reported. By promoting best practices, these recommendations can improve the methodological quality and predictive value of AD animal studies and make the translation to human clinical trials more efficient and reliable.
doi:10.1186/alzrt90
PMCID: PMC3218805  PMID: 21943025
3.  Novel β-Secretase Cleavage of β-Amyloid Precursor Protein in the Endoplasmic Reticulum/Intermediate Compartment of NT2N Cells  
The Journal of Cell Biology  1997;138(3):671-680.
Previous studies have demonstrated that NT2N neurons derived from a human embryonal carcinoma cell line (NT2) constitutively process the endogenous wild-type β-amyloid precursor protein (APP) to amyloid β peptide in an intracellular compartment. These studies indicate that other proteolytic fragments generated by intracellular processing must also be present in these cells. Here we show that the NH2-terminal fragment of APP generated by β-secretase cleavage (APPβ) is indeed produced from the endogenous full length APP (APPFL). Pulse–chase studies demonstrated a precursor–product relationship between APPFL and APPβ as well as intracellular and secreted APPβ fragments. In addition, trypsin digestion of intact NT2N cells at 4°C did not abolish APPβ recovered from the cell lysates. Furthermore, the production of intracellular APPβ from wild-type APP appears to be a unique characteristic of postmitotic neurons, since intracellular APPβ was not detected in several non-neuronal cell lines. Significantly, production of APPβ occurred even when APP was retained in the ER/ intermediate compartment by inhibition with brefeldin A, incubation at 15°C, or by expression of exogenous APP bearing the dilysine ER retrieval motif.
PMCID: PMC2141643  PMID: 9245794

Results 1-3 (3)