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History

Our Mission

  • Improve the quality of life for patients and caregivers
  • Develop new medications and treatments for Alzheimer's disease and related conditions
  • Support research to better understand Alzheimer's disease and related conditions

Background

UCLA Easton Center for Alzheimer's disease research The Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer's Disease Research at UCLA (UCLA-Easton Center) is a comprehensive research center focused on Alzheimer's disease (AD) and other dementias. The Center is named in honor of the mother of Jim Easton, a UCLA benefactor and partner to the Center. Jim lost his mother to AD. The theme of the Center is the therapeutic imperative, focusing on the overwhelming need for earlier (pre-dementia) diagnosis and new therapeutic agents that slow the course of Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. Included in this theme is basic science study of the basic brain processes involved in AD, animal models of AD, clinical research of biomarkers for these diseases, diagnostic research, and clinical trials of new medications. The UCLA-Easton Center is one of the top in the nation and is supported by the National Institutes on Aging, the State of California and generous donors who share our commitment to developing new therapies for AD.

Jim EastonFinding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the goal of the UCLA-Easton Center and that goal is shared by our generous benefactor, Jim Easton. The UCLA-Easton Center includes several existing programs such as the federally and state-funded clinical research programs: the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC) and the California Alzheimer's Disease Centers (CADC). These programs, in which many patients participate as research subjects, will continue in their existing form and we look forward to continuing to work with our participant partners who come into the Center year after year for their research assessment. The Easton Center also includes the Sidell-Kagan Alzheimer's Treatment Development Program, the long-standing clinical trials program supported by the Sidell-Kagan Foundation. This branch of the Center will continue to test new investigational therapies for AD as they progress through clinical development.

The UCLA-Easton Center also includes the Jim Easton Consortium for Alzheimer's Drug Discovery and Biomarker Development, a separate research program funded by Mr. Easton. This Consortium supports the work of several investigators specifically to develop treatments for AD. The Consortium funds the work of biologists studying molecular protein folding, research to investigate the utility of new agents in animal models, and human research in AD patients. Mr. Easton has funded this Consortium personally, as a method to facilitate the type of high risk, high reward research that the leadership of the Easton Center believes will be instrumental and necessary for the development of an eventual cure for AD.

The goals of each division of the UCLA-Easton Center align with the "therapeutic imperative" and each division exists under the general administration of the Easton Center Director, Dale E. Bredesen, M.D. In this exciting time, we believe that every day brings us closer to new treatments for AD. The partnership provided by Mr. Easton and other supporters has become critical to accomplishing the goals of the "therapeutic imperative." Without these contributions, as well as the invaluable contributions made by our research participants, we could not continue to expand our knowledge of this disease. We believe that, together, our team is making a difference.

Major Accomplishments

1991 - The UCLA Alzheimer's Center is funded by the National Institute on Aging.

1994 - The Neuropsychiatric Inventory, an important tool in assessing behavior in studies of dementia is published by Jeffrey Cummings, M.D. and collaborators at the UCLA ADRC.

1998 - The UCLA Alzheimer's Disease Center is funded by the State of California.

2004 - Greg Cole, Ph.D. and collaborators publish a body of work describing the benefits of anti-inflammatory interventions in animal models of Alzheimer's and suggest a particular value for the dietary ingredient curcumin.

2006 - Liana Apostolova, M.D., M.S.C.R. and collaborators at UCLA using a novel way of measuring the size of the hippocampus, an important brain structure for memory formation heavily affected by Alzheimer's disease pathology, demonstrated the predictive value atrophy of certain hippocampal subregions for future decline from mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer's disease. In a subsequent publication published also in 2006 Dr. Apostolova's group mapped in vivo the spread of AD-pathology through the hippocampal formation in the prodromal and early symptomatic AD stages.

2008 - The UCLA Alzheimer's Disease Center is renamed "UCLA - Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer's Disease Research" honoring the mother of Jim Easton, a UCLA alumnus, benefactor and new partner to our Center.

2008 - John Ringman, M.D., M.S. and collaborators from the UCLA ADRC identify changes occurring in the cerebrospinal fluid and plasma in persons carrying genes for familial AD 15 years prior to the expected development of cognitive symptoms.

2009 - Liana Apostolova, M.D., M.S.C.R. and collaborators demonstrated that AD-associated hippocampal changes can be detected in cognitively normal elderly predestined to develop AD as long as 3 years before the cognitive decline manifests.

2009 - Po Lu, Psy.D. and collaborators from the UCLA ADRC observe that the presence of mild degrees of depression in persons with MCI predicts a favorable response to donepezil.