Researchers at the University of British Columbia (UBC) Faculty of Medicine are leading a first-of-its-kind international study of Alzheimer’s to help prevent and treat the disease in people of Asian ancestry.
About the study: The Asian Cohort for Alzheimer’s Disease (ACAD) is reportedly the first major Alzheimer’s disease genetics cohort for Asian Americans and Asian Canadians, according to a press release.
ACAD, which received a $40.6 million grant from the National Institute on Aging, is a collaboration between 16 academic medical centers across North America.
Underrepresented in research: According to UBC, Asians are vastly underrepresented in Alzheimer’s research, accounting for less than 3% of participants in national data sets and major clinical trials used to set prevention and treatment guidelines.
“In the world of medical research, Asians are generally under-represented in many research cohorts, leading to significant knowledge gaps when providing healthcare to this population,” said Dr. Robin Hsiung, associate professor at UBC and research lead for ACAD’s Vancouver site.
“In this study, we aim to examine the differences and similarities in genetic and environmental risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease between Asian immigrants and other North Americans of European ancestry. Given the large Asian population in Vancouver, we expect to contribute significantly to this endeavor. The findings will increase our understanding of Alzheimer’s disease and lead to improved care and treatment.”
ACAD’s research: The ACAD team is recruiting Asian adults aged 60 and older, with or without cognitive issues, of Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese ancestry before expanding their study to other major Asian populations.
The researchers will analyze genetic and environmental data to identify risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease in Asian American and Asian Canadian populations with the goal of developing blood biomarker benchmarks and a polygenic risk score model.
The team also hopes to raise awareness and overcome language barriers to participation by reaching local Asian communities in nine recruitment areas with large Chinese, Korean and/or Vietnamese populations.