The National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded a $10.7 million five-year renewal grant to Cleveland Clinic to expand a national research consortium focused on improving the diagnosis and treatments for Dementia with Lewy Bodies. The Dementia with Lewy Bodies Consortium, established in 2017, centralized research efforts and created a national, coordinated registry for clinical data.
Supported by the renewal grant, the consortium now includes collaborative sites Rush University, University of Pittsburgh, University of Pennsylvania, University of California San Diego (UCSD), University of North Carolina, the VA-Puget Sound Health Care System/University of Washington and Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas.
Led by principal investigator James Leverenz, M.D., of Cleveland Clinic, the research team has added Drs. Oscar Lopez at University of Pittsburgh and Douglas Galasko at UCSD as co-principal investigators with a sharper focus on developing new tools to accurately diagnose Dementia with Lewy Bodies and related cognitive issues linked to Parkinson’s disease. The study will build upon their foundational work during the initial grant. The multi-center study aims to use longitudinal data from the expanded patient cohort to identify biomarkers which can assist with diagnosis, detecting disease progression, and ultimately measuring response to treatment.
“Dementia with Lewy Bodies is the second most common cause of dementia in the elderly but it remains challenging to diagnose,” said Dr. Leverenz, director of Cleveland Clinic’s Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Cleveland. “Through our establishment of a national registry we have generated a significant amount of data and biofluids that have been shared with investigators through a collaboration with the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and the National Institute on Aging. With this new funding, we can now use that important information to improve diagnosis, identify biomarkers for disease and develop much needed new therapies for patients.”
It has been estimated that over 1.4 million people in the United States have Dementia with Lewy Bodies, a progressive neurodegenerative disorder. However, there are no drugs approved to treat the symptoms nor treatments that offer meaningful hope for a cure.
Through the consortium, researchers from the clinical sites have collected clinical information, imaging scans and biospecimens from more than 150 patients into a centralized database. The team analyzes the data to understand associations between certain patient characteristics and faster rates of decline over time to better predict outcomes.
“Dementia with Lewy Bodies research has previously been hindered by the need for large groups of patients to study in a consistent manner over time,” said Dr. Leverenz. “This consortium addresses this issue by bringing together a group of experts and providing the infrastructure to study a large number of patients from across the country. By expanding our collaborative research, our aim is to better understand the biology of this disease and improve outcomes for patients.”
The NIH grant is project number: 2 U01 NS100610-06. Additional funding comes from the Lewy Body Dementia Association and the Douglas Herthel DVM Memorial Fund.
If you or a family member are interested in enrolling in this research study, please contact the Cleveland Clinic Center for Brain Health at 216-445-9009 or CBHresearch@ccf.org.