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Banner Alzheimer's Institute

Transforming the Scientific Fight Against Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of memory and thinking problems in older people, exacts a devastating toll on patients and a significant strain on family caregivers. It affects about 10% of people over 65 and more than one-third of those over 85. With the growing number of people living to older ages, the number of Americans affected by Alzheimer’s and other age-related memory and thinking problems is projected to skyrocket, from 7 million today to nearly 13 million by 2050—unless we address and prevent the problem in the next few years.

As the very first Center of Excellence at Banner Health, the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute was established in Phoenix in 2006 to help address this terrible problem and achieve several ambitious goals:

  • To find effective Alzheimer’s prevention therapies without losing a generation
  • To establish a new standard of care for patients and family caregivers
  • To galvanize the fight against Alzheimer’s and related diseases in other ways
  • To forge models of collaboration in biomedical research

Working closely with its sister organization, Banner Sun Health Research Institute, and having expanded to Tucson in 2018, today, the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute is a world leader in the scientific and clinical fight against Alzheimer’s and related diseases. BAI launched a new era in Alzheimer’s prevention research, fostered a common sense of urgency around the world, and now has a realistic chance to find and support the FDA approval and widespread accessibility of the first effective Alzheimer’s prevention therapies within the next few years.

As we work to find a cure, we offer an unparalleled comprehensive care model with extensive programs to address the medical and non-medical needs of patients and family caregivers. Services include state-of-the-art diagnostic evaluations, numerous clinical trials, and impactful education, outreach and support programs for caregivers, with custom offerings to address the unique needs of under-represented groups.

Our vision has always been singular: to end Alzheimer’s disease as soon as possible. We believe this future that we envision is near.

About the Banner Alzheimer’s Foundation

The Banner Alzheimer’s Foundation was established in 2006 exclusively to cultivate and steward charitable contributions to advance the mission of the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute. The Foundation engages grateful patients and families to support the Institute’s work to end Alzheimer’s disease before losing another generation and provide a new standard of care for people with Alzheimer’s and their families. Philanthropic support has been integral to our ability to treat hundreds of thousands of patients and support their care partners with our unparalleled comprehensive care model, including family outreach, counseling, and education critical to dementia care.

Through the Be at the Heart of Health campaign, we will make major philanthropic investments to propel our research institutes as they continue to look for ways to better diagnose, treat, and prevent Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias and bring important treatments and major breakthroughs to the market. We must also sustain and expand our unmatched care programs, supportive services, community outreach, and education initiatives to ensure these resources are widely accessible and affordable.

Click on the investment opportunities listed below for more details on specific initiatives.

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Transforming & Sustaining Alzheimer’s Clinical Care
Initiative Goal: $15 million
Due to the need for constant care during a long period of decline, frequent medical visits and

hospitalizations, and associated health complications, caring for dementia patients can cost three times that of a patient without memory issues—much of it not covered by insurance. Despite the costs, the physicians and staff at the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute and Banner Sun Health Research Institute believe every patient and family deserves an equivalent level of care and support. We envision a day when our coordinated care plan becomes the standard of care nationwide.

Further investment now will sustain and continue optimizing our best-in-class medical and non-medical care programs for cognitively impaired patients and their families. Funds will also allow us to extend our care model to a wide range of primary and secondary care providers in outlying and rural areas to maximize access to the kind of care all patients and families deserve.

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Community Outreach & Education
Initiative Goal: $5 million
Culturally sensitive dementia education, diagnosis, and treatment are critical in our diverse communities. Data shows that Black and Latinx communities are more likely than Caucasians to have a higher incidence of Alzheimer’s or related dementias and are also less likely to seek an evaluation when experiencing memory problems. Live and virtual education and outreach, culturally sensitive research coordination, interpreter services, and multi-lingual educational tools and clinic/research materials will improve care and research opportunities for diverse and marginalized communities. Philanthropic investment will help us to develop caregiving skills among community members, family, community health representatives, public health nurses and case managers.

Family and Community Services programming includes a variety of support groups, movement classes, musical groups, community-based arts programs, caregiver classes, and life enrichment programs to enhance the quality of life of our patients and their care partners. For the community at large, the Institute offers memory screenings and educational sessions on maintaining and improving brain health. “Dementia Untangled” is a podcast uniting prominent experts to give innovative ideas, strategies, and proven methods to guide caregivers along a supportive path inspired by BAI’s renowned and comprehensive model of care.

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Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative
Initiative Goal: $10 million
Philanthropic investment will support promising prevention trials, including a plaque-reducing antibody therapy in the “primary prevention” of Alzheimer’s (i.e., in cognitively unimpaired at-risk persons before blood test or PET evidence of amyloid plaques) that could have a transformational impact on the fight against this devastating disorder. Investments will also be made in early phase trials of promising gene-silencing and other gene-modifying treatments in people with biomarker evidence of the disease.

We are pioneering efforts to detect, track, and study nearly 6,000 members of the world’s largest autosomal dominant AD kindred in Antioquia, Colombia, who are virtually certain to develop Alzheimer’s and become cognitively impaired at the average age of 44. This work has been extensively covered by The New York Times, CBS 60 Minutes, and media outlets around the word. Importantly, funding will also provide the social supports needed to assist study participants along the way and allow us to share our data, samples, and findings with the field.

Finally, funds will support our ability to share updates about the latest developments in Alzheimer’s prevention research and provide a shared resource of interested participants for prevention research and related studies from our currently 400,000-member Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry. This includes those in whom we have characterized their test results for APOE, the major genetic risk for Alzheimer’s in our currently 125,000 member GeneMatch Program, and plan for the development of an even larger diagnostic blood test screening and trial matching program to find effective prevention therapies as soon as possible. We hope to find and help support FDA approval for an effective “secondary” Alzheimer’s prevention therapy in cognitively unimpaired persons with blood test evidence of amyloid plaques as early as 2025-2026. If successful, we could then extend it to an antibody therapy that could be self-administered at home in unimpaired at-risk persons—with and without blood test evidence of amyloid plaques—as early as 2027-2028.

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Alzheimer’s Research Fund
Initiative Goal: $10 million
Philanthropic investment will support collaborative and pilot research projects led by BAI, BSHRI, and BAI-Tucson, including those related to the Arizona Alzheimer’s Consortium. Preliminary findings then have the potential to leverage large NIH and other grants and contracts in support of our ambitious goals. Funding will also support the equipment and infrastructure related to launching new initiatives and conducting research in innovative, rigorous, and impactful ways; as well as education and training for students in our Neurosciences Scholars Program and other trainees, colleagues and collaborators from diverse backgrounds—helping to engage some of the best and brightest people in the scientific fight against Alzheimer’s and related diseases.

Philanthropic support is also essential for the Brain and Body Donation Program at Banner Sun Health Research Institute. Located in the most highly concentrated area of seniors in the country, the world-renowned program in Sun City, Arizona, includes comprehensive annual assessments and blood samples in about 900 living research participants who agree to donate their brains after they die. The program also includes rapid autopsies, neuropathological assessments, and storage of brain and body tissue following death (including a brain bank with tissue from more than 2,500 donors); the world’s most extensively shared and highest-quality resource of brain tissue and related data for the study of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, related disorders, and normal aging; and an unparalleled resource of blood samples taken near end-of-life to support the development and validation of blood tests for a full range of neurodegenerative and cerebrovascular diseases.

Finally, funding is needed to support the next frontier in Alzheimer’s research: the Cerebrospinal Fluid and Blood-Based Biomarker Program. This program will include leaders in the development of fluid biomarkers, including for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and related disorders, data and biological samples from the Brain and Body Donation Program and other research cohorts needed to develop and test new assays, and an extensively shared resource of blood and CSF samples to advance the development of new assays around the world.

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Investing in the Next Generation of Research and Clinical Leaders
Initiative Goal: $10 million
One of the reasons for our success is the quality of our researchers, clinicians, and leaders; their genuine commitment to the marriage between research and care, collaboration, and resource sharing; and the team’s determination to address and prevent Alzheimer’s disease and related diseases as soon as possible. One of our top campaign priorities is the development, recruitment, and retention of the most promising researchers, clinicians, and leaders, including those who will continue to have a transformation impact on research, care, and prevention. Start-up packages as well as permanent endowments are needed to attract and retain the highest quality staff and elevate the prestige of working with our organization.

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