The Canadian government is funding the creation of a brain bank network to advance the fight against dementia.
By Lola Augustine Brown
More than 400,000 Canadians 65 or older live with dementia, 70% of them with Alzheimer’s disease, and the World Health Organization estimates that the number of those with dementia will double by 2030. We don’t really know how to treat the condition, and we don’t really know what causes it.
Canadian researchers were therefore understandably happy to hear that the Government of Canada is investing $2.5 million in the search for answers.
Almost half of the funding—$1 million—will be used to establish a Canadian brain bank network—CABIN—which will provide the people and infrastructure needed to manage the storage of donated brains and brain tissue for researchers across the country. CABIN will become part of and support an existing international project, the Alzheimer’s disease Neuroimaging Initiative, providing greater resources for researchers worldwide in the fight against that disease. The project will be headed by Drs. Robin Hsuing and Ian Mackenzie of the University of British Columbia and Dr. Howard Chertkow of McGill University and the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal.
The remaining funds are to be dispersed among three other international dementia-related research projects run through the Joint Programme on Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND), a European Union initiative to coordinate research efforts. Three non-EU countries are part of the JPND: Australia, Switzerland, and Canada.
One of the three projects, led by Dr. Nahum Sonenberg of McGill’s biochemistry department, will look into possible targets for drug development to combat Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases; it will bring together scientists from Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Israel, and the Netherlands.