Dementia Research


Canadian Brain Bank Network

Canada is part of the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI), a major project led by the U.S. National Institute of Health. Canadian ADNI centres exist in Vancouver, Toronto, London, and Montreal. The project involves people in Canada and the United States who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or have milder forms of memory loss. Advanced neuroimaging technologies are used to track the progression of the disease and develop imaging approaches to diagnosis and monitoring of future therapies.

A key component of the initiative includes the study of the brains of the participants who eventually die from the disease. Researchers carry out brain autopsies to determine the effect of the disease and collect tissues samples to identify biomarkers that may be used to permit early detection of the disease.

Until now Canada has lacked a national system for coordinating brain donation and neuropathology among hospitals and research centres across the country. To fill this gap, CIHR is providing $1,065,000 over five years to establish the Canadian ADNI BraIn bank Network, or CABIN, which will provide the personnel and physical infrastructure needed to contribute to the ADNI program and more broadly support brain donation and tissue banking for dementia research programs in Canada.

The project will be led by Dr. Ian Mackenzie and Dr. Robin Hsuing at the University of British Colombia and Dr. Howard Chertkow at the Jewish General Hospital and McGill University.

EU Joint Programme – Neurodegenerative Disease Research

Dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases related to aging are debilitating and largely untreatable. The WHO estimates that more than 50 million people live with dementia worldwide. Alzheimer’s disease represents approximately 70 percent of cases.

The European Union created the Joint Programme on Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND) to better coordinate European research efforts on dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease. Canada, Australia, and Switzerland are non-EU countries participating in the programme, which facilitates collaborative research projects involving scientists in member countries.

As the result of call for proposals launched in January 2017, CIHR approved funding of the following three projects for a total of $1,499,886 over three years. These projects are led by leading Canadian researchers, who will work with collaborators in other JPND member countries. Funding agencies in the partner countries are supporting the participation of the research in those countries.

Principal Investigator Project Description CIHR Funding
(over 3 years)
Partner Countries
Dr. Nahum Sonenberg
McGill University
(Montreal, QC)
To understand the mechanisms responsible for altering the manufacture of proteins in Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases and identify potential targets for drug development $499,998  Germany
United Kingdom
Dr. Ruth Slack
University of Ottawa
(Ottawa, ON)
To understand the mechanisms underlying disease progression in dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases and identify new therapeutics $499,890  Germany
Dr. Stéphane Lefrancois
Institut national de la recherche scientifique
(Quebec, QC)
To identify the common features of Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases and develop new ways to detect and treat them. $499,998  United Kingdom
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