The publication Clinical Investigation recently published an overview of the DIAN Project, one of the largest ongoing multi-center studies currently hosted in the CNDA. This paper, “Developing an international network for Alzheimer research: The Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network,” was co-authored by the NRG’s Daniel Marcus and DIAN Imaging Core leader Tammie Benzinger, and provides an introductory look at this effort.
The DIAN Project is primarily funded by the National Institute on Aging, and studies families with a very rare form of Alzheimer’s Disease that is genetically inherited, and has an unusually early age of onset for those afflicted. This gives researchers a rare chance to study these individuals while they are still healthy, and to use imaging and clinical research tools to attempt to identify biomarkers of the disease before an individual becomes noticeably symptomatic.
Foremost among challenges for researchers is finding and recruiting enough families that have this rare strain of the disease. To solve this, these researchers established a global network of research sites that can all recruit families and feed data to a central coordinating facility located here at the Washington University School of Medicine.
To maintain privacy and accountability, each study site contributes anonymized data to a separate environment within CNDA, where data are QC’ed and then contributed to a central environment where project-wide reporting and investigation can be done.
The DIAN Project began in 2008 and is currently ongoing. Additionally, the NIA is sponsoring a DIAN Clinical Trials unit to perform and track the progress of novel therapies for these afflicted individuals.