ANN ARBOR – The U.S. National Institutes of Health will award an estimated $9 million over the next five years to a new statewide center to enhance the understanding and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

The Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Core Center, launched Monday, will support researchers and clinicians from the University Research Corridor, comprised of the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Wayne State University.

Over five million Americans 65 and older have Alzheimer’s disease, and another several million have other forms of dementia including frontotemporal dementia, Lewy Body dementia and vascular dementia. Currently, no disease-slowing therapies exist for any dementia. The ADCC will support a wide range of studies on Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias while also educating scientists, health care professionals and the public on the causes and treatment of dementias.

The new Michigan ADCC will be one of nearly 30 NIH-funded Alzheimer’s disease centers across the nation, and the only one that links three major research universities.

“This is a remarkable opportunity to leverage the combined clinical, research and educational expertise of our three universities to tackle this devastating disease,” said Scott Counts, Ph.D.,associate professor of translational science and molecular medicine at MSU College of Human Medicine.

The ADCC will foster career development of junior investigators, to prepare the next generation of experts in Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. The center seeks to provide training opportunities across many areas of research and at all levels of expertise, from high school students to junior faculty.

ADCC investigators at all three universities will also come together annually for a research symposium to facilitate collaboration and learn about each other’s latest discoveries.

“We are especially excited that this collaboration will extend the scientific and community engagement work on Alzheimer’s disease in African-Americans,” said Peter Lichtenberg, Ph.D.,director of WSU’s Institute of Gerontology and ADCC co-core leader for training.

Unique among the other NIH-funded centers nationwide, the Michigan ADCC represents a partnership between three major research universities. This multi-institutional approach will extend the reach of the ADCC across the entire state to help citizens of Michigan wherever they may live.

“The collaboration between Michigan’s three Level 1 research universities and the integration of strong community outreach represents an enormous opportunity for the citizens of Michigan to benefit directly as they struggle to understand and intervene with persons suffering with Alzheimer’s disease,” Lichtenberg said.