National Leaders to Discuss Challenges in Diagnosing Early-Stage Alzheimer Disease

The Alzheimer Research Forum, the Web’s foremost community of AD researchers, in collaboration with the Geoffrey Beene Gives Back® Alzheimer’s Initiative and Alzheimer Study Group, has assembled a panel of thought leaders to address the challenges and solutions to early-diagnosis of AD during a 90-minute web-based “virtual town hall meeting.” The event is scheduled for Wednesday, July 9, from 2:00-3:30 p.m. (U.S. East Coast Time) and will be conducted using Webinar technology and teleconferencing. The discussion’s guest moderator is Dr. Harold Varmus, a Nobel laureate who made pioneering discoveries in cancer biology, former director of the National Institutes of Health, and President, CEO of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Chairman of the Geoffrey Beene Cancer Research Center. Dr. Varmus is a member of the Alzheimer Study Group (ASG), an independent working group mandated by the United States Congress to develop a national strategic plan for Alzheimer disease. The virtual town hall findings will be reported to the ASG. One of the key roadblocks to developing better treatments for AD is the lack of approved tests that doctors can use to screen for and diagnose patients who are at the very earliest stage of the devastating brain disorder. The lack of early-stage diagnostic tools also impedes drug development. Without tools to identify and monitor disease progression in people, it is impossible to design clinical trials to test drugs. Many researchers fear that promising drugs are doomed to fail in clinical trials because the drugs currently must be tested in patients who are at more advanced stages of the disease. The Alzforum has invited a panel of thought leaders to give brief presentations about the most promising advances and frustrating bottlenecks in their areas of expertise.The invited panel members are:

  • Paul Aisen, MD, University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine’s Department of Neurosciences. Director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study (ADCS)
  • Bill Bridgewater, Alzheimer patient, National Alzheimer’s Association Board of Directors
  • Anne Fagan PhD, Research Associate Professor of Neurology, Washington University St. Louis
  • Rachelle Smith Doody, M.D.,Ph.D., Effie Marie Cain Chair in Alzheimer’s Disease Research, Baylor College of Medicine
  • Doug Galasko MD, Interim Director of the UCSD Shiley-Marcos Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center
  • Sid Gilman MD. Director, Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center
  • Richard Mohs PhD. Leader, Alzheimer’s Disease Team, Global Brand Development, Eli Lilly and Company
  • John Morris MD, Director and Principal Investigator, Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, Washington University St. Louis
  • Michael W. Weiner MD, Principal Investigator, Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative Director, Center for Imaging of Neurodegenerative Disease, VA Medical Center San Francisco

Following the prepared presentations, audience members will take part in a moderated Q&A session. Members of the media are invited to participate. The Alzheimer Research Forum is an independent, not-for-profit organization founded in 1996 with the mission of applying Web technology to advancing Alzheimer research. It has become a dynamic online community with more than 4,600 registered members, most of them AD researchers and clinicians. The Geoffrey Beene Gives Back® Alzheimer’s Initiative (, whose core mission is to accelerate advances in early diagnostics, is sponsoring the town hall through a grant to the Alzheimer Research Forum.

For Alzforum news articles, background information about the Early Detection of Alzheimer Disease virtual town hall, and technical instructions, visit this URL:

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