Cogstate Ltd (ASX:CGS) today announced an award from the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation’s (ADDF) Diagnostics Accelerator (DxA) initiative, which is a partnership of funders including ADDF Co-Founder Leonard Lauder, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Mackenzie Bezos, the Dolby family, and the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation, among others, seeking to develop novel biomarkers for the early detection of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. The up to $1.3 million award to Cogstate will be focused on the development of a technology-based approach for early detection of memory impairment and decline.
Chris Edgar, Ph.D., Senior Vice President of Clinical Science at Cogstate, is leading a team that is adapting a well-established memory test, called the International Shopping List Test (ISLT), for use on smartphones and tablets. The technology adaptation will be purpose designed to enable autonomous assessment of memory by individuals in their own home. Improved access to such an easy-to-use and sensitive measure of memory is expected to enable identification of memory problems earlier and in more diverse populations, thereby supporting earlier diagnosis and access to potential interventions.
An estimated 50 million people worldwide are currently living with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias, a figure that will almost triple by 2050. Memory decline is one of the earliest signs of the disease, and memory assessments are an important, early component of diagnosis. Testing for memory impairment requires a face-to-face visit with a trained and experienced neuropsychologist able to administer a formal memory test. This approach has drawbacks in terms of patient burden and access to care. Further, patients are often evaluated at only a single time-point, when repeated testing over time may be more sensitive and effective at identifying problems in people with different memory abilities.
The ISLT is an established test of memory developed by Cogstate, which uses a real-world scenario of trying to remember a grocery list. The test has been designed for use in multiple languages and cultures and for repeat testing over time to identify changes in memory.
“We know that subtle changes in memory appear long before dementia occurs, and Cogstate’s ISLT memory app project aims at providing early and accurate detection of decline for anyone, regardless of their access to specialized memory clinics,” said Cogstate CEO, Brad O’Connor. “The selection of our memory app project by the ADDF, their external scientific reviewers and Joint Steering Committee is an honor and a testament to the unique scientific and operational excellence Cogstate brings in addressing this major unmet need.”
“An easy to use, accurate and accessible test of memory is a critical component in the early detection of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias,” said Howard Fillit, MD, Founding Executive Director and Chief Scientific Officer of ADDF. “That’s why we are enthusiastic about Cogstate’s program to automate such a well validated clinical assessment for use by individuals at home.”
Cogstate Ltd (ASX:CGS) is the neuroscience technology company optimizing brain health assessments to advance the development of new medicines and to enable earlier clinical insights in healthcare. Cogstate technologies provide rapid, reliable and highly sensitive computerized cognitive tests across a growing list of domains and support electronic clinical outcome assessment (eCOA) solutions to replace costly and error-prone paper assessments with real-time data capture. The company’s clinical trials solutions include quality assurance services for study endpoints that combine innovative operational approaches, advanced analytics and scientific consulting. For 20 years, Cogstate has proudly supported the leading-edge research needs of biopharmaceutical companies and academic institutions and the clinical care needs of physicians and patients around the world.
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About the Diagnostics Accelerator
Launched in 2018, the Diagnostics Accelerator research initiative is dedicated to accelerating the development of affordable and accessible biomarkers to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias and advance the clinical development of more targeted treatments. Through translational research awards and access to consulting support from industry experts, this program will challenge, assist and fund the research community in both academia and industry to develop novel peripheral and digital biomarkers. Proposals addressing areas of neuroinflammation, synaptic integrity, proteostasis, and vascular injury are of particular interest at this time and applications for both digital and peripheral biomarkers are being accepted on an ongoing basis.
About the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation
Founded in 1998 by Leonard A. Lauder and Ronald S. Lauder, the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation is dedicated to rapidly accelerating the discovery of drugs to prevent, treat and cure Alzheimer’s disease. The ADDF is the only public charity solely focused on funding the development of drugs for Alzheimer’s, employing a venture philanthropy model to support research in academia and the biotech industry. Through the generosity of its donors, the ADDF has granted more than $150 million to fund over 626 programs for Alzheimer’s and related dementias in academic centers and biotechnology companies in 19 countries. To learn more, visit: http://www.alzdiscovery.org/.