Emory renames center Goizueta Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, enters next phase of research

Woodruff Health Sciences Center | Aug. 24, 2018

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Jennifer Johnson
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Allan Levey

Director of the Goizueta Alzheimer's Disease Research Center

Emory University has renamed its Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC) the Goizueta Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center in recognition of The Goizueta Foundation’s ongoing support for transformational research toward developing treatment for the disease.

In May 2018, The Goizueta Foundation made a $25 million grant to the ADRC dedicated to the development of a Clinical Trials Unit and to support the Neuroinflammation Discovery Unit.

  • In the Clinical Trials Unit, investigators will expand the testing of new drug treatments, including industry-sponsored trials.

  • In the Neuroinflammation Discovery Unit, Emory investigators will pursue research focused on new approaches to combat neuro-inflammation and related mechanisms that contribute to neurodegeneration and disease progression.

The Goizueta Foundation made an initial investment of $25 million in the ADRC in 2014, and a subsequent $3.9 million supplemental gift, to launch and support the Emory Healthy Aging Study and the Healthy Brain Study — both of which are ongoing and still enrolling participants.

  • The Healthy Aging study focuses on advancing brain health and preventing age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s and investigates a wide range of shared risk factors for other conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and hypertension.

  • The Healthy Brain Study focuses on developing biomarkers that enable prediction of Alzheimer’s disease in middle-age individuals, even before symptoms begin.

 “We are deeply honored by The Goizueta Foundation’s philanthropic support and their unwavering trust in our people and our mission to change the course of this disease,” says Emory University President Claire E. Sterk, PhD.

“The goal of our research is nothing less than a paradigm shift in the future diagnosis and treatment for Alzheimer’s disease,” says Allan Levey, MD, PhD, The Goizueta Endowed Chair for Alzheimer’s Disease Research, and the Betty Gage Holland Chair.  Levey also serves as Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurology, Executive Associate Dean for Research in Emory University’s School of Medicine, and Director of the Goizueta Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center.

“Our research at Emory, and that of other Alzheimer’s investigators, is pointing to an immunological basis for Alzheimer’s disease, and treating neuroinflammation has become a compelling strategy,” says Levey. “We are extremely grateful to The Goizueta Foundation, whose remarkable commitment has allowed us to dramatically expand the reach and impact of the Emory Brain Health Center and the ADRC.”

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Identifying individuals at risk for Alzheimer’s disease created an imperative for the Emory ADRC team to expand testing and conduct clinical trials that would offer hope to these individuals. “This new gift from The Goizueta Foundation will allow us to eventually offer therapies to affected individuals with the key goals to either delay development of Alzheimer’s or halt it altogether,” says Levey. 

"The Goizueta Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center is an integral part of Emory’s overall efforts to advance brain health treatment and research. This gift is a tremendous vote of confidence in Dr. Levey and his continued dedication as a visionary leader in this field,” says Jonathan S. Lewin, MD, CEO of Emory Healthcare.

Based on recent research discoveries, Emory investigators expect to soon have several promising biomarker candidates that can pinpoint the development of Alzheimer’s disease symptoms a decade or more before the onset of cognitive decline and memory loss, not only allowing for earlier detection but also making it possible to create fundamental changes in the treatment of this debilitating disease.

“Our father believed in recognizing opportunities to solve problems through intelligent risk-taking,” says Olga Goizueta Rawls, CEO and Chair of the Board of The Goizueta Foundation. “An investment in the ADRC’s research is just that: intelligent risk. We hope and expect that results from the Goizueta Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center will improve the lives of generations of families to come — in Atlanta and beyond.”

The Goizueta Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center is part of the Emory Brain Health Center and is one of 32 Alzheimer’s disease research centers nationally, and one of only a few in the Southeast, that are supported by the National Institutes of Health. This network of Alzheimer’s disease research centers is working collaboratively to find a treatment for the disease by 2025.