Brain Canada is pleased to announce the awarding of a 2021 Platform Support Grant (PSG) to Dr. Sylvia Villeneuve from the Douglas Hospital Research Centre, McGill University. Together with Optina Diagnostics, the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQS), the J.L. Levesque Foundation, the Douglas Institute Foundation and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Brain Canada is awarding $2.34M to support theCanadian Alzheimer’s Prevention Data Repository and Sharing Platform, a platform for accelerating Alzheimer’s disease research and treatment in Canada and beyond.  

Brain Canada’s Platform Support Grants are awarded to teams that are creating and/or enhancing centralized shared resources to increase access to equipment, expertise, data and protocols across research networks.

In 2020, the number of people in Canada living with dementia was 597,000 and this number is projected to increase to 955,900 by 2030. This debilitating disease has an annual cost of over $10.4 billion and has tremendous impact on the quality of life of patients and their families. Currently, by the time a person receives a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) dementia, brain atrophy is so advanced that memory impairments are irreversible. In order to reduce the impact of AD dementia on quality of life, it is therefore crucial to better understand what the pre-dementia phases of disease look like. To achieve this, neuroscientists will need large pools of longitudinal data on well-characterized individuals in order to identify who will develop AD dementia before any symptoms appear and provide evidence to support the development of new interventions that could stop or slow down the disease. 

Collaborations across Canada and beyond are key to accelerating the pace of discovery and improving the quality of life of patients,” says Dr. Viviane Poupon, Brain Canada President and CEO. “Brain Canada is proud to support platforms of this kind which enable our scientists to tackle the most pressing questions of our time.

The Canadian Alzheimer’s Prevention Data Repository and Sharing platform (CAP platform) will be the first Canadian open platform with the infrastructure to acquire, harmonize and share openly sensitive data on preclinical AD (cognitively unimpaired individuals with AD pathology), and it will do so at no cost to the research community. It will also facilitate data exchange with healthcare practitioners, accelerating the translation of research findings into clinical practice. Importantly, data integrated into the CAP platform will be harmonized with other major Canadian and international AD initiatives to facilitate data amalgamation on preclinical AD, reducing the need to duplicate studies and leveraging the wealth of research data already available.  

One of our goals is also to launch a dementia prevention clinic in 2023 with support from philanthropy and the CIUSSS Ouest-de-l’Ile,” says Dr. Villeneuve. “The clinic, that will be led by Dr. Simon Ducharme, will use our CAP platform and will feed into our data repository, helping us to provide even more data to the Canadian and international investigators conducting research in this area and, ultimately, leading to the faster development of treatments for patients.

This project has been made possible by the Canada Brain Research Fund (CBRF), an innovative arrangement between the Government of Canada (through Health Canada) and Brain Canada Foundation. To date, Health Canada has invested over $155 million through the CBRF which has been matched by Brain Canada Foundation and its donors and partners. 

Learn more about this project in Brain Canada’s directory of funded researchers.