28 January 2013. The 2013 Potamkin Prize for Research in Pick’s, Alzheimer’s, and Related Diseases will go to three neurologists who have helped advance human longitudinal studies of AD. William Jagust at the University of California, Berkeley; Eric Reiman at the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute in Phoenix, Arizona; and Michael Weiner at the University of California, San Francisco, will share the $100,000 prize. The American Academy of Neurology and the American Brain Foundation will present the award at the Academy’s 65th annual meeting, to be held 16-23 March 2013 in San Diego, California. The Potamkin family of Colorado, Philadelphia, and Miami funds the award.
The three are no strangers to Alzforum readers. Weiner helped establish the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI), which conducts longitudinal biomarker studies in 1,000 older adults. His work with ADNI has not only helped standardize biomarker tests and inspired similar initiatives on other continents, but has also changed the way researchers view the disease. Scientists now recognize that AD includes a long prodromal phase, in which multiple biomarkers change years before symptoms appear. ADNI has provided a forum where industry scientists from most large companies active in the AD field have come to work together regularly and closely to solve precompetitive challenges in trial design and biomarker use that they all face.
Jagust heads ADNI’s positron emission tomography (PET) core, which performs brain amyloid imaging and measures brain metabolism in participants. His imaging work has shed light on the relationship between brain amyloid deposition, brain function, and disease. He recently showed that high cognitive engagement in early and midlife deters plaque formation (ARF related news story), and that having an ApoE4 allele predicts brain metabolism deficits better than does plaque deposition (see ARF related news story). Research suggests poorer brain metabolism increases the risk for dementia.
Reiman receives the prize for his efforts toward preventing AD. He co-leads the Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative (API), a broad effort to promote presymptomatic treatment trials across the AD field. The API led off with a longitudinal study of the world’s largest known familial AD kindred—a set of extended families in Colombia who carry a presenilin 1 mutation (see ARF series). Reiman’s work on this form of AD shows that biomarker changes precede symptoms reaching all the way back to a person’s youth (see ARF related news story; ARF news story). A five-year treatment trial starting this year will test whether amyloid immunotherapy can delay the onset of disease (see ARF related news story).––Madolyn Bowman Rogers.