THANK YOU

Thanks to your steadfast commitment to the Josephine and John Marr Alzheimer’s Research Fund at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, we are making great progress in our efforts to predict and ultimately prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Inspired by Josephine Marr’s courageous battle with this devastating illness, thousands of generous supporters like you are helping us create a better future for millions of families around the world. I am honored and humbled by your dedication to our work, and excited to share the following updates on our recent activity. With your support, I am confident we will defeat this destructive disease.


Reisa A. Sperling, MD, MMSc
Director, Center for Alzheimer Research and Treatment
Brigham and Women’s Hospital

5,800,000

Alzheimer’s affects more than 5.8 million Americans

66

Every 66 seconds, an American develops Alzheimer’s

16,000,000

By 2050, more than 16 million Americans will be affected by Alzheimer's

THE IMPACT OF THE MARR FUND

The Marr Fund continues to fuel novel Alzheimer’s research at the Brigham that will allow us to detect subtle cognitive and functional changes at even earlier stages of disease and start prevention trials at younger ages. From developing blood tests that accurately predict the disease to establishing the Marr Cohort, the Marr Fund is a major catalyst in our efforts to stop Alzheimer’s in its tracks. Following are highlights of what we have accomplished thus far—thanks to you.

Advancing New Insights

Advancing New Insights

    The Marr Fund has allowed us to expand Alzheimer’s research to a younger group of people (ages 50-64), whom we refer to as the Marr Cohort. Part of the Harvard Aging Brain Study, the Marr Cohort is enabling us to gather valuable clinical data from individuals with no outward signs of Alzheimer’s. Ultimately, this work will help us gain insights about who is at highest risk and when is the earliest we can intervene.

    Gathering Critical Data

    Gathering Critical Data

      The Marr Fund has allowed us to continue follow-up visits with the Marr Cohort. Each participant undergoes amyloid and tau PET imaging, MRI scanning, cognitive testing, and blood sample collection. This time-consuming and costly data gathering, which will be repeated three times over a three-year period, would not be possible without your support. Data fuels multiple studies, including analysis of blood-based biomarkers to identify changes over several years.

      Optimizing Prevention Trials

      Optimizing Prevention Trials

        Data gathered from the Marr Cohort is informing the design of Alzheimer’s prevention trials. For example, Marr findings suggest that between the ages of 50 and 55, very few people have markers of amyloid, so the recently launched AHEAD Study (read more below) begins recruitment at age 55. In this way, the trial is optimized to yield valuable insights, while saving time and costs associated with the screening process.

        In the coming year,

        Dr. Sperling will continue to gather and analyze clinical data from the 51 participants in the Marr Cohort. In response to the COVID-19 crisis, she also plans to accelerate the team’s efforts to create remote cognitive assessment tools, such as smartphone apps and digital questionnaires, that could be used for data collection in lieu of in-person hospital visits. She was able to advance work on these vital tools when the crisis paused research across the country and aims to continue moving these projects forward for use in upcoming prevention trials.

        Photo below: For Dr. Sperling and the Harvard Aging Brain Study team, work never slowed in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic!

        MARR FUND BY THE NUMBERS

        MAKING STRIDES TOWARD A WORLD WITHOUT ALZHEIMER'S

        For the past five years, the Marr family and friends have come together to run the Maine marathon, half marathon, or relay in support of Alzheimer’s prevention research. In total, the event has raised over $1.1 million to help put an end to this debilitating disease.

        • It was so inspiring to see multiple generations of the Marr family and other families come together to run this race on behalf of Josephine. I am deeply grateful and honored to have the Marr family and friends on our team as we work to ultimately prevent this disease.

          Reisa A. Sperling, MD, MMSc

        UPDATE ON ALZHEIMER'S PREVENTION TRIALS

        In 2020, Dr. Sperling is launching two new Alzheimer’s prevention trials while continuing to lead the Harvard Aging Brain Study and the A4 Prevention Trial. Following is an update on these pioneering studies, which are advancing efforts to treat and prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

        Harvard Aging Brain Study

        Dr. Sperling received a new grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to continue following participants in the Harvard Aging Brain Study (HABS) over the next five years. With the addition of the Marr Cohort, HABS is now gathering critical data on asymptomatic people ages 50 to 97, greatly enhancing the value of HABS. This expanded data collection—thanks to the Marr Cohort—played a major role in winning the new NIH award.

        A4 Prevention Trial

        The world’s first prevention trial in older adults (ages 65-85), A4 is evaluating an anti-amyloid drug in people who show no signs of cognitive decline but have high levels of brain amyloid. In the first phase, only some participants received the drug, while others were given a placebo. The trial has now moved into its “open-label” phase, which allows all participants to receive the drug. Final results may be delayed until 2023 due to the COVID-19 crisis.

        The AHEAD Study

        The AHEAD Study combined the screening process for two prevention trials—A3 and A45 — expediting their launch in July 2020. Both trials target the asymptomatic stage of Alzheimer’s and will evaluate the impact of BAN2401, an anti-amyloid drug, in preventing cognitive decline. AHEAD is the first study to test targeted dosing based on brain amyloid levels. It is also the first study to use brain imaging to measure amyloid and tau protein in all participants.

        HOW YOU CAN HELP

        Your continued support of Alzheimer’s research at Brigham and Women’s Hospital remains critical and is deeply appreciated. Thank you for joining us in this fight. Together, we are changing the trajectory of Alzheimer’s disease—and creating new hope for generations to come.

        Share this report with your network

        Share this report with your network

        Host a fundraising event

        Host a fundraising event

        Join the Marr Fund team virtually in 2020

        Join the Marr Fund team virtually in 2020

        Make a gift to the Marr Fund

        Make a gift to the Marr Fund

        For more information:

        Please contact Ginny Fuller at 617-424-4329 or vgfuller@bwh.harvard.edu