Bloomington, IN — November is Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, and researchers at Indiana University were recently awarded $50 million to study the field further. Research into late-onset Alzheimer’s disease continues under the MODEL-AD protocol, which was established at I-U in 2016 and develops models of disease progression in mice and then opens those models to other researchers.
Gene editing of mice is used to create genetic risk variants that are seen in humans. Dr. Bruce Lamb, executive director, of Stark Neurosciences Research Institute, IU School of Medicine, said the models that look like they are progressing toward disease are studied in a more in-depth fashion and then released to the broader scientific community.
“All of the models and all of the data also are made available to the entire scientific community, without any regulations on who can access them,” Lamb said. “Within six months after quality control, all of our data, all of the animals are then made available to the scientific community.”
Researchers have created more than 40 animal models since the project began.
The MODEL-AD protocol is reliant on gene-editing technology to create the same genetic conditions that are seen in human Alzheimer’s patients. Lamb said gene editing has revolutionized the process.
“Where the field has been really revolutionized is by CRISPR gene editing,” Lamb said. “So pretty much all of the models we’re generating are using CRISPR at some point in that process, to specifically try to model specific variants seen in humans, in mice.”
The funding award will keep the MODEL-AD project going through at least 2026.
(Story by our news-gathering partners at Indiana News Service)