The in Toronto has announced the launch of an initiative to accelerate breakthrough discoveries for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases associated with aging, including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Using a flexible fast-track grantmaking model, the $46 million (C$50 million) will support high-risk, high-reward neuroscience research with Rapid Response grants of up to $92,000 (C$100,000), Transformational Research grants of up to $1.38 million (C$1.5 million), and Targeted Topic grants in underresourced research areas.
To date, the fund has awarded $12 million (C$13 million) through collaborations with , the – Canada, and the . That includes Transformational Research grants totaling $4.7 million to Isabelle Aubert and Kullvervo Hynynen (, University of Toronto) to study the efficacy of treating Alzheimer's disease by delivering anti-amyloid vaccines directly to the brain using focused ultrasound; Aubert, Hynynen, and Sandra Black (Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre), to create a focused ultrasound device that can induce localized, controlled, and repeated opening of the blood-brain barrier; Jacques Montplaisir, Ronald B. Posthuma, and Jean-Francois Gagnon () to track clinical markers in patients with sleep behavior disorders that correlate with the development of neurodegeneration; and Marco Prado, Boyer Winters, and Robert Bartha (), to develop a higher-throughput method of testing therapeutics on mice using touch screens.
"Brain disorders are some of the most challenging areas in medicine to address," said W. Galen Weston, board chair and president of the foundation. "We are at an exciting moment in time when we have the technology and understanding to drive forward breakthroughs in neuroscience research."