Research on Alzheimer's disease and related disorders - The FRQS and Pfizer Canada pledge $3.7M to fund a consortium and six research projects

MONTRÉAL, May 8, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - The Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQS) and Pfizer Canada are very pleased to announce $3.7M in funding by Pfizer Canada to support a consortium on the early detection of Alzheimer's disease and six related projects. The funding is provided through the Pfizer-FRQS Innovation Fund for Alzheimer's disease and related disorders, a research grant program overseen by the FRQS.

"Thanks to this partnership with Pfizer Canada, our researchers now have the means to pool their expertise and undertake innovative projects. The scientists will have the opportunity to focus on determining markers and early treatment options for the disease. These measures will enable Québec's research community to become even more competitive in the field of Alzheimer's disease in Canada and abroad," affirmed Prof. Rémi Quirion, Québec's chief scientist and chairman of the board of directors of the FRQS.

"Through the years, investigators in Québec have developed strong expertise in research on aging and on Alzheimer's disease in particular. This support will further accelerate breakthroughs for the greater benefit of Québecers," added Dr. Renaldo Battista, scientific director of the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé.

"The consortium and the innovative projects will tackle health issues that are of major importance to Québecers and mobilize multidisciplinary teams of expert researchers in the province's leading institutions. Pfizer Canada is proud to support these initiatives since they reaffirm our drive to pursue its involvement in research development in Québec," stated Dr. Vratislav Hadrava, Vice President and Medical Director, Pfizer Canada.

The grant program was so successful that the FRQS and Pfizer plan to launch a second edition of the innovative projects competition in July 2014.

Creation of a consortium for the early detection of Alzheimer's disease
The Consortium pour l'identification précoce de la maladie d'Alzheimer – Québec (CIMA-Q) aims to develop means to provide an earlier diagnosis of Alzheimer's and better understand the causes of the disease so as to develop effective treatment options. The consortium is led by Sylvie Belleville, researcher and director of research centre of the Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal, affiliated with the Université de Montréal, and by Andréa LeBlanc, researcher at the Bloomfield Centre for Research in Aging of the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research. The CIMA-Q brings together over 90 Québec researchers in fields related to Alzheimer's disease. The group will receive $2.5M in funding over three years.

Support for six high-risk projects with significant potential benefits
Researchers affiliated with several Québec universities will pilot the six projects supported by the Pfizer-FRQS Innovation Fund for Alzheimer's disease and related disorders. Each initiative will receive up to $200,000 to better understand the disease, validate the most effective diagnostic methods and determine new therapeutic approaches.

The six Alzheimer's Fund projects are (alphabetically by PI surname):

1. Marc-André Bédard, Montréal Neurological Institute / UQAM
Validating 18F-Fluoroethoxybenzovesamicol (FEOBV) as a biomarker of Alzheimer disease

2. Frédéric Calon, Centre de recherche du CHUQ / Université Laval
Gene therapy to increase glucose uptake: application in an animal model of Alzheimer disease

3. Claudio Cuello, McGill University
New, non-invasive tools for the early detection of the pathology of Alzheimer disease

4. Jean-Pierre Julien, Université Laval
Nanobodies targeting TDP-43 for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases

5. Nicole Leclerc, Université de Montréal
Mechanisms involved in the propagation of tau pathology in Alzheimer disease

6. Keith Murai, McGill University Health Centre / McGill University
Investigations into microglia-astrocyte interactions in Alzheimer disease

 

The creation of the consortium and the launch of the six projects will lead to unprecedented Alzheimer research and researcher and institutional collaborations. More specifically, the funding will help create an environment that will provide Québec scientists with the methodological tools, platforms and knowledge required to foster research innovation, cohesion and visibility in the field of Alzheimer's disease.

Québec, Canada and several countries around the world have targeted Alzheimer's disease prevention, treatment and research as a health priority. In this regard, since May 2009, Québec has relied on a report entitled Relever le défi de la maladie d'Alzheimer et des maladies apparentées – une vision centrée sur la personne, l'humanisme et l'excellence, which sets out 24 recommendations on different aspects of the disease, from awareness building to research.

About the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQS)
The mission of the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQS), which reports to the Minister of Higher Education, Research and Science, is to support health research to foster the wellness of Québec's population. Its mandate is to promote and financially support such research, to disseminate knowledge and train researchers, to forge the partnerships necessary for the development of Quebec's research and innovation system, and, lastly, to advance research internationally. For further information, visit www.frqs.gouv.qc.ca.

About Pfizer Canada
Pfizer Canada Inc. is the Canadian operation of Pfizer Inc., one of the world's leading biopharmaceutical companies. Our diversified health care portfolio includes some of the world's best-known and most prescribed medicines and vaccines. Every day, Pfizer Canada employees work to bring therapies to patients that significantly improve their lives. The company is a major contributor to health research in Canada. We apply science and our global resources to improve the health and well-being of Canadians at every stage of life. Our commitment is reflected in everything Pfizer does, from our disease awareness initiatives to our community partnerships, to our belief that it takes more than medication to be truly healthy. To learn more about Pfizer's More than Medication philosophy and programs, visit www.morethanmedication.ca. To learn more about Pfizer Canada, visit pfizer.ca.

 

SOURCE Fonds de recherche du Québec - Santé

For further information: Vincent Lamoureux, Pfizer Canada, 514-426-6841, vincent.lamoureux@pfizer.com ;Michelle Dubuc, Communications and knowledge mobilization, Fonds de recherche du Québec, 514-873-2114, ext. 1235, michelle.dubuc@frq.gouv.qc.ca