Neurodegenerative Disease

Currently, more than 5 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s. This has profound implications for Arizona, with a population of more than 1 million people over age 65 living today that is expected to expand to 2.4 million by 2050.

The partnership between Arizona State University (ASU), one of the nation’s largest public research universities, and Phoenix-based Banner Health, one of the nation’s largest nonprofit health systems, includes the launch of a new Arizona State University-Banner Neurodegenerative Disease Research Center on ASU’s Tempe campus. 

This effort capitalizes on Banner’s internationally recognized programs in Alzheimer’s disease research and patient care and ASU’s rapid ascension as a world-class research university. It also leverages Banner’s close working relationships with other research organizations in Arizona. Eric Reiman, M.D. Reiman, the executive director of the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute and university professor of neuroscience at ASU, who along with Raymond N. DuBois, M.D., Ph.D., executive director of the Biodesign Institute at ASU, will lead the new alliance.

Currently, more than 5 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s. This has profound implications for Arizona, with a population of more than 1 million people over age 65 living today that is expected to expand to 2.4 million by 2050.

The new center at ASU began July 1 and the search for a world-renowned scientific director will continue. As part of this partnership, ASU will invite six scientists from Banner Sun Health Research Institute to relocate to the Tempe campus where they will have access to other scientists, state-of-the art laboratory space and support to advance their research. The center is expected to rapidly grow to become a pre-eminent research center in both size and impact through aggressive recruitment of innovative research teams pursuing causes and treatments for neurodegenerative diseases.

Banner will continue to grow its clinical and research programs at Banner Alzheimer’s Institute and Banner Sun Health Research Institute (BSHRI). For instance, BSHRI plans to develop its clinical and clinical research programs for the study of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, further develop its world-renowned Brain and Body Donation Programs for the study of these and other age-related disorders, and explore new opportunities to work with the rest of Banner and its organizational partners to expand and test new models of elder care.

 

 

Together, Banner and ASU receive nearly $65 million in current research funding in the neurosciences. That number is expected to rise significantly with the recruitment of new researchers and funding.

Barring any significant treatment breakthroughs, the number of people affected by Alzheimer’s disease could more than triple to 16 million in the U.S. by 2050, at a health care cost of more than $1.2 trillion annually. Parkinson’s afflicts up to 10 million people worldwide, and an estimated 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson's each year, while thousands of cases go undetected. Other neurodegenerative diseases continue to take a devastating toll on patients and family caregivers.

In addition to his other positions, Reiman is the CEO of Banner Research. He is internationally recognized for his contributions to brain imaging, the early detection and tracking of Alzheimer’s disease, and the accelerated evaluation of Alzheimer’s prevention therapies. The Neurodegenerative Disease Research Center will be closely affiliated with faculty from ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Biodesign Institute, a translational science institute with some 500 faculty, staff and students, representing expertise in the biosciences, engineering and advanced computing.

The agreement between Banner and ASU is an extension of their work with the Arizona Alzheimer’s Consortium, a leading model of statewide collaboration in biomedical research, and it is intended to help make Arizona a destination for the best and brightest minds in this field. The two institutions will continue to work closely with other organizational partners to advance scientific research. Under the agreement, the center’s scientists will hold joint faculty appointments at both ASU and Banner Research.