is the answer!!!
Foundation Mission Statement
of The John Douglas French Alzheimer’s Foundation is to serve as a venture
catalyst to provide critical seed money for novel and promising Alzheimer’s
research, generally not funded by the government or pharmaceuticals.
diligence and oversight are provided by our distinguished International
Scientific Advisory Board and by Foundation Management.
It is The Foundation’s
objective to expedite the day, either individually or in a collaborative
effort, when we can delay the onset and advancement of, or find a cure for
from funds supporting our
About Alzheimer's Disease
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a slow,
progressive brain disease characterized by changes in behavior and personality and a
decline in thinking abilities that cannot be reversed. AD is currently responsible for
over 100,000 deaths each year in the U.S.
The American population is aging at
a rate never seen before in recorded history. For the baby boomers, successfully living to
85 may only mean becoming one of the projected 14 million who will be dying with AD.
Until recently, compassion, care and
understanding were our only means to assist AD patients. Now, through research, we have a
better understanding of how to diagnose AD, analyze the biochemical changes, and study the
factors responsible for these changes.
This debilitating disease will reach epidemic
proportions with the advancing growth of our senior population. In addition, the related
costs of over $150 billion annually are predicted to double within the next 10 years. We
must advance the research ... NOW!
Meeting the Challenge
Mike Minchin, Jr.
From the President's
Alzheimer’s Update (2012)
Large trials focused on lowering amyloid protein will be
completed in 2012.
Tau trials are beginning in Alzheimer’s Disease-related
conditions led by previous French Foundation Distinguished Research Scholar
Dr. Adam Boxer at UCSF.
The FDA has approved
amyloid-imaging as a diagnostic marker. This will allow physicians to order
scans that quantify brain amyloid in a patient – greatly improving
An epidemic in tau-related neurodegeneration is being
found in NFL players. Dr. Bruce Miller (JDFAF Medical Director) and Dr.
Stanley Prusiner (Nobel Laureate and Chairman of the JDFAF International
Scientific Advisory Board) lead this investigation.
French Foundation Fellows are exploring tau-lowering
therapies. Dr. Keith Vossel at UCSF has become a leader in this effort.
Future efforts will probably have to combine anti-amyloid
and anti-tau therapies if we are going to be successful.
The French Foundation continues to support outstanding
scientists in the top medical schools across the State of California who are
pursuing new out-of-the-box approaches to dementia.
JDFAF Accomplishments (2011)
Supported start-up of Dakim Brain Fitness equipment
(www.dakim.com). UCLA research is validating improvement in cognition by its
Initiated dietary/medicinal product test at UCLA. Results
expected in the fall of 2012.
Currently funding research at UCLA, UCSF, UCSD and
Stanford. Since inception of the Foundation, over $15 million has been
invested in 195 scientists conducting cutting-edge Alzheimer’s research.
Dr. William Seeley at UCSF, whom we funded as a JDFAF
Distinguished Research Scholar, received the prestigious McArthur Foundation
Genius Award for his work. This is one of the highest honors bestowed on an
individual in the United States and Dr. Seeley is the first neurologist to
receive the award.
Following the death of the former chairman of our Board, Art
Linkletter, Michael Reagan, son of the President, was asked to become
the new chairman. The Board’s interest in Michael was based on his
leadership position during the many years of his father’s illness and
his passion for finding a cure for Alzheimer’s.
Before accepting the chairmanship of our Foundation Michael asked a
series of important
questions. These questions appeared to me to be the questions
you might want answered before responding to the many worthy causes
that are soliciting your financial support. What follows is a brief
summary of some of them.
should one give to Alzheimer’s over many other worthy causes?
If we don’t find a cure for Alzheimer’s soon, because of the
aging of the baby boomers, the cost of care will bankrupt the Medicare
system and cause serious emotional and financial damage to caregivers.
Compounding the problem is that only a small percentage of Alzheimer’s
research projects receive government funding – and even that has been
seriously cut. Presently there is no cure or drug to stop its
One receives requests
from several Alzheimer’s organizations. Why should someone give to the
Our Foundation acts like a venture catalyst, funding exciting
new research approaches that government doesn’t fund and
pharmaceutical companies see no patent opportunities when they might
just copy drugs already approved.
What have been some
of your major accomplishments?
Our major accomplishments are many. To name but a few:
of the most significant discoveries made in recent years have come
from JDFAF scholars who are probing Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and
frontotemporal degeneration to find the cause and a cure for AD.
We supported the
Chairman of our International Scientific Advisory Board, Dr.
Stanley Prusiner in the early stages of his research. Dr. Prusiner
received the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his work with prions and
3 of 4 major
genetic discoveries in Alzheimer’s are by scientists whose
research we supported: Drs. Rudolph Tanzi (Harvard Medical
School), Peter St. George-Hyslop (University of Toronto) and
Gerard Schellenberg (University of Washington).
JDFAF has a
distinctive program called Adopt-A-Scientist supporting the most
brilliant of young scientists in their cutting-edge research and
allowing individual donors to have a personal relationship with
their adopted scientist.
JDFAF has developed major research collaborations among
the leading Alzheimer’s university laboratories, requiring strict
accountability of funds and sharing of findings among the research
community. To date, over $4 million has been invested in such
inception in 1983, JDFAF has supported 193 scientists in the
amount of over $15 million.
It is often the
practice for a charitable organization to take substantial overhead
out of its donations. What does the JDFAF do?
No operational overhead is taken (by The Foundation, research lab,
or scientist) from monies contributed.
Specifically, where does
one’s donation go?
Basically, we fund 3 areas:
postgraduate research scientists uninhibited by restrictions of
tradition or what some say “may or may not” work.
More advanced researchers who are not tenured, but have already
demonstrated brilliance in their work and are greatly in need of funds
Special projects that open up exciting new pathways to
accelerate finding a cure or importantly delay the onset of
The need is great. The time is short.
Supporting Cutting-Edge Research
Several years ago The Wall Street Journal
ran two articles pertinent to our Foundation. One article stated, "As the
competition for government grants gets tighter, young scientists are quitting
academia which, in turn, is causing a wave of anxiety in the ranks of
biomedical research." These young scientists are important as they form
the labor pool within the university for most of the scientific research.
Often they have the most creative ideas. History is replete with examples of
scientists making huge breakthroughs in their 20s and 30s. This is the very
segment we support with our Adopt-A-Scientist program for post-doctoral
Another article from The Wall Street
Journal addressed "The fevered debate of Alzheimer’s origins…(which
has)…caused deep divisions." The current leading theory that has
captured a majority of the funding is that Alzheimer’s is caused by the
accumulation in the brain of sticky plaques made of a protein called beta-amyloid.
This leaves valuable areas of potential virtually without funds. Since our
mission is cutting-edge research, we often fund areas not currently in vogue
and not being funded by the N.I.H. or pharmaceutical companies. In the
instance of the beta-amyloid controversy, we are funding alternative
potentials, too, and finding some positive results.
According to Dr. Jeffrey Cummings, Vice-Chairman
of JDFAF's International Scientific Advisory Board and former director of UCLA
Alzheimer’s Disease Center, "Current therapies for patients with
Alzheimer’s may ease symptoms by providing temporary improvement and
reducing the rate of cognitive decline. Given the wide array of available
molecular targets and the rapid progress toward identifying potential
therapeutic compounds, the development of interventions that substantially
delay the onset or modify the progression of Alzheimer’s can be
For more information about JDFAF, you can
write us at
The John Douglas French
11620 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 270
Los Angeles, CA 90025
5/4/2011 by David Werthe
© 2011 The John Douglas French Alzheimer's Foundation
All rights reserved.