WellesleyWeston Magazine


Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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Page 129 of 195

fitness & health "I don't think there's any doubt we'll find a preventive, and maybe a cure" above: Harold and Janet Ginsburg, with Senior Vice President Sally Rosenfield, at the annual fall symposium, Taking Control of Alzheimer's Through Research. top right: (left to right) Founders Henry McCance and Phyllis Rappaport with Alzheimer's patient Charlie Collier, the former senior philanthropic advisor at Harvard University. bottom right: (front row, left to right) Karen Peterson, bookkeeper; Laurel Lyle, Director of Fundraising Programs; Julie Winton, previous office manager; (back row, left to right) Mike Curren, Senior Vice President; Rachel Weinstein, intern; Sally Rosenfield, Senior Vice President; and Tim Armour, President and CEO. Seeking to identify the remaining 70 percent of genes contribut- ing to risk for Alzheimer's, with CAF support, Tanzi has headed the Alzheimer's Genome Project. Working at MGH, his team has stud- ied 5,000 families in which multiple members were afflicted with Alzheimer's. Tanzi says it is the world's first large-scale study of the human genome on the world's largest collection of families affected by the disease. The project discovered four new genes, and was cited by TIME/CNN as among the Top 10 Medical Breakthroughs of 2008. When one of those genes, ATXN1, is inactive, they found there is a dramatic increase in levels of a fatty protein called A-beta, which for 27 years has been identified as the leading cause of Alzheimer's. In a related study, also funded by CAF, the team determined that too much A-beta creates plaques and tangles, killing brain cells and leading to Alzheimer's, while not enough A-beta interferes with the body's immune system. Suddenly researchers realized if a drug could be devel- oped that would control the level of A-beta, the incidence of Alzheimer's might be lowered, much like statins lower cholesterol production. 128 CAF's venture philanthropists hope their risk-taking will give Tanzi and many others the means to convince larger funding organizations to provide major support. Recently, Steve Wagner, a neuroscientist at UC San Diego and past recipient of two CAF grants, was awarded a $1 million, five-year NIH "Blueprint" grant for the fast-track develop- ment of a new Alzheimer's drug therapy. "I don't think there's any doubt we'll find a preventive, and maybe a cure," says Jeff Morby. "Alzheimer's disease costs the US close to $150 billion a year when Medicare, Medicaid, and additional miscellaneous funds are combined. The Afghanistan, Iran, and Iraq wars cost this country less. And it has a huge impact on individual families. I don't think we can wait the ten years that others predict to find preventions." He wants that breakthrough in five. For more information, contact the CURE ALZHEIMER'S FUND at 877.287.3800, e-mail info@curealz.org, or visit their Web site at www.curealz.org. WellesleyWeston Magazine | summer 2012 PHO TOS BY NIR LAND A U

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