Big Data From Alzheimer's Disease Whole Genome Sequencing Will Be Available To Researchers Due To Novel Global Research

Big Data From Alzheimer's Disease Whole Genome Sequencing Will Be Available To
              Researchers Due To Novel Global Research Database

PR Newswire

BOSTON, July 12, 2013

BOSTON, July 12, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --The Alzheimer's Association
and the Brin Wojcicki Foundation announced today that massive amounts of new
data have been generated by the first "Big Data" project for Alzheimer's
disease. The data will be made freely available to researchers worldwide to
quickly advance Alzheimer's science.

Discussed today at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference (AAIC)
2013 in Boston, the project obtained whole genome sequences on the largest
cohort of individuals related to a single disease – more than 800 people
enrolled in the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI).

The genome sequencing data – estimated to be 200 terabytes – will be housed in
and available through the Global Alzheimer's Association Interactive Network
(GAAIN), a planned massive network of Alzheimer's disease research data made
available by the world's foremost Alzheimer's researchers from their own
laboratories, and which also is being publicly announced today at AAIC 2013.
GAAIN is funded by an initial $5 million dollar investment by the Alzheimer's
Association, made possible due to the generous support of donors.

"The Alzheimer's Association is committed to creating open access to research
data, and we believe GAAIN will transform how neuroscience data is shared and
accessed by scientists throughout the world," said Maria Carrillo, Ph.D.,
Alzheimer's Association vice president of Medical and Scientific Relations.
"By fostering a higher level of global data sharing, GAAIN will accelerate
investigation and discovery in Alzheimer's through a system comparable to a
search engine like Google or Bing for relevant data."

"With the addition of more than 800 whole genomes on ADNI subjects that can be
linked to the current rich dataset, ADNI data will be even more useful to
scientists who are seeking new approaches to treatment and prevention of
Alzheimer's disease," said Robert C. Green, M.D., M.P.H., of Brigham and
Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, who led the ADNI sequencing
project. "ADNI is a leader in open data sharing, having provided clinical,
imaging and biomarker data to over 4,000 qualified scientists around the
world, which has generated over 700 scientific manuscripts.

First, Massive Whole Genome Sequencing Project in Alzheimer's Disease

Whole genome sequencing determines all six billion letters in an individual's
DNA in one comprehensive analysis. The raw data from the ADNI project is being
made available to qualified scientists around the globe to mine for novel
targets for risk assessment, new therapies, and much-needed insight into the
causes of the fatal brain disease. The new data may enable scientists to
better understand how our genes cause and are affected by bodily changes
associated with Alzheimer's disease.

ADNI enrolls people with Alzheimer's disease, mild cognitive impairment, and
normal cognition who have agreed to be studied in great detail over time. The
goal is to identify and understand markers of the disease in body fluids,
structural changes in the brain, and measures of memory; the hope is to
improve early diagnosis and accelerate the discovery of new treatments.ADNI
is led by Principal Investigator Michael W. Weiner, M.D., of the University of
California San Francisco and the San Francisco VA Medical Center. Dr. Green
collaborated on managing the sequencing efforts with Arthur Toga, Ph.D., of
UCLA and Andrew J. Saykin, Psy.D., of Indiana University. The actual genome
sequencing was performed at Illumina, Inc.

ADNI is a public-private research project led by the National Institutes of
Health (NIH) with private sector support through the Foundation for NIH.
Launched in 2004, ADNI's public-private funding consortium includes
pharmaceutical companies, science-related businesses, and nonprofit
organizations including the Alzheimer's Association and the Northern
California Institute for Research and Education.

The Global Alzheimer's Association Interactive Network (GAAIN)

Data-sharing has already greatly benefitted scientific disciplines such as
genetics, molecular biology, and the physical sciences. Data-sharing in
genetics has led to dramatic advances in understanding the risk factors
underlying complex diseases. The Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative
(ADNI) is a compelling example of dozens of geographically-dispersed
researchers working together to share their data while making it freely
available to others for analysis and publication.

"GAAIN is similar in spirit and goals to other 'big data' initiatives that
seek to greatly improve the tools and techniques needed to access, organize,
and make discoveries from huge volumes of digital data," Carrillo said. "The
advent of cloud computing makes it possible to link databases throughout the
world and expand their data processing capability significantly to benefit the
research community."

Carrillo will supervise the development of GAAIN in conjunction with
co-principal investigators Art Toga, Ph.D., of the Laboratory of Neuro Imaging
(LONI) at the University of Southern California and Giovanni Frisoni, M.D., of
the National Center for Alzheimer's Disease Research and Care and the
Instituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico (IRCCS), Fatebenefratelli
Hospital, Italy. Enrique Castro-Leon, Ph.D., who will serve as a consultant,
is an enterprise and data center architect for strategic partner Intel Digital
Enterprise Group.

GAAIN is built on an international database framework already in use by
thousands of scientists and local computational facilities in North America
and Europe. The network makes research data available free-of-charge for
searching, downloading, and processing across a cloud-based, grid-network
infrastructure accessible anywhere through Internet access.

The key to GAAIN's innovation is its federation of data, which is
unprecedented for such a system. GAAIN leadership will invite scientists
conducting qualified studies to become partners by permitting GAAIN to link
directly to their databases. This will enable researchers to add continually
to their data sets and keep all data in GAAIN current and dynamic. It also
will enable the scientists to retain control over access to their data, which
the Association believes will be important to encouraging participation.

"This is unprecedented and of the utmost importance in brain research, where
sometimes thousands of examples are required to observe even the smallest
change in the brain," said Giovanni Frisoni, M.D., neurologist and deputy
scientific director at the National Center for Alzheimer's Disease Research
and Care at the IRCCS. He will lead the work of GAAIN in Europe.

"Through GAAIN we envision combining massive amounts of data from multiple
sources across many subjects participating in numerous studies," said Art
Toga, Ph.D., professor of neurology at UCLA and director of LONI. "This will
provide more statistical power than ever before."

About the Alzheimer's Association
The Alzheimer's Association is the world's leading voluntary health
organization in Alzheimer care, support and research. Its mission is to
eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research, to provide
and enhance care and support for all affected, and to reduce the risk of
dementia through the promotion of brain health. The Association's vision is a
world without Alzheimer's. For more information, visit or call

About the Brin Wojcicki Foundation
The Brin Wojcicki Foundation was established by Sergey Brin, the co-founder of
Google and Anne Wojcicki, the co-founder of 23andMe, a leading personal
genetics company. The Brin Wojcicki Foundation's mission is to effect world
change in Parkinson's research and neurodegenerative diseases, to support
individual rights and freedom from oppression, to develop opportunities for
those in need in poverty, health and education and to support transformational
and disruptive research.

About the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative
Launched in 2004 by the NIH as the largest public-private partnership
supporting Alzheimer's research, the original goal of Alzheimer's Disease
Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) was to define biomarkers for use in clinical
trials and determine the best way to measure treatment effects of Alzheimer's.
Now in its third phase (ADNI 2), the goal has been expanded to include the use
of biomarkers to detect Alzheimer's at a pre-dementia stage. Results from ADNI
are expected to provide researchers with a better understanding of Alzheimer's
progression in its earliest stages, when treatments may be the most effective.
The ADNI study is taking place at 55 major academic medical centers and
clinics in North America and the model is being adopted in other countries
worldwide. For additional information, please visit or

SOURCE Alzheimer's Association

Contact: Alzheimer's Association, media line: 312-335-4078,
Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.