Request for Information: Portfolio Analysis of Alzheimer’s Disease Research

Notice Number: NOT-AG-12-003

Key Dates
Release Date: February 10, 2012

Issued by
National Institute on Aging (NIA)


This Request for Information (RFI) is for information and planning purposes only and should not be construed as a solicitation or as an obligation on the part of the Federal Government, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and/or the National Institute on Aging.  The NIH does not intend to make any awards based on responses to this RFI or to otherwise pay for the preparation of any information submitted or for the Government’s use of such information. The National Institute on Aging, a component of the National Institutes of Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is seeking input from US-based and international public and private funding agencies and organizations supporting Alzheimer’s disease regarding their interest in contributing to the development of an International Alzheimer’s Disease Research Portfolio (IADRP).

Alzheimer's disease represents a major public health concern.  An estimated 24 million people worldwide have dementia, the majority of which are thought to suffer from Alzheimer's disease (Ferri CP., et al., 2005, Lancet, 366: 2112-7).  This number is predicted to double by 2020 and triple by 2040.  Although a few approved drugs can alleviate some of the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, to date there are no medicines available that can delay the onset or slow the progression of the disease.  In light of this looming public health crisis, Alzheimer’s disease is becoming a research priority in a growing number of countries. As public and private funding agencies across the world enhance and expand their support of Alzheimer’s disease research there is an urgent need to coordinate funding strategies and leverage resources in order to maximize the impact on public health and avoid duplication of effort and inefficiency.  Such coordination requires a comprehensive assessment of the current landscape of Alzheimer’s disease research in the US and internationally. 

To capture this landscape and provide an inventory of the existing investment in Alzheimer’s disease research and research-related resources, funding agencies need to use a common language and a common classification system. To this end, the National Institute on Aging, the lead federal agency for research on Alzheimer’s disease, in collaboration with the Alzheimer’s Association, the largest non-federal organization supporting Alzheimer’s disease research,  developed a common Alzheimer’ s disease research ontology (CADRO) as a tool to classify and organize Alzheimer’s disease research portfolios.  The CADRO was developed as a dynamic portfolio analysis tool that can be used to:   i) capture the changing landscape of Alzheimer’s disease research funded by different agencies,  ii) identify opportunities for coordination of support for Alzheimer’s disease research and iii) identify funding gaps as well as areas of overlap within and across  funding agencies.  

The CADRO is a three-tier classification organized around seven major categories:

Molecular Pathogenesis and Pathophysiology of Alzheimer’s Disease
Diagnosis, Assessment and Disease Monitoring
Translational Research and Clinical Interventions
Care, Support and Health Economics of Alzheimer’s Disease
Research Resources
Consortia and Public Private Partnerships

Similar efforts on behalf of other diseases with high public health impact have been very productive.  For example, the National Cancer Institute, through the leadership of the International Cancer Research Partnership (ICRP), has developed a common framework which has been successfully used by funding agencies to support strategic coordination of funding efforts for cancer.

With this RFI, the NIA is seeking to expand the use of the CADRO to other federal and non-federal agencies supporting Alzheimer’s disease research in the US and internationally with the ultimate goal to create an International Alzheimer’s Disease Research Portfolio in the form of a publicly available database. 

Submitting your Response
US-based and international funding agencies who are interested in joining this effort should send their responses to the NIA using the contact information presented below.  Responding to this RFI will not be considered as a commitment to participate in the development of the IADRP.  Responses will be publicly available.  Upon contacting the NIA, interested parties will receive detailed information about this effort in order to make an informed decision about their participation. 

Please mark your responses with this RFI identifier NOT-AG-12-003 when responding via email. Responses will be accepted until April 1st 2012.

Ferri CP, Prince M, Brayne C, Brodaty H, Fratiglioni L, Ganguli M, Hall K, Hasegawa K, Hendrie H, Huang Y, Jorm A, Mathers C, Menezes PR, Rimmer E, Scazufca M; Alzheimer's Disease International,  Lancet,  2005 Dec 17: 366(9503):2112-7.


Please direct all inquiries to:

Lorenzo M. Refolo, PhD
National Institute on Aging
Division of Neuroscience
Dementias of Aging Branch
7201 Wisconsin Ave
Gateway Bldg, Suite 350
Bethesda, MD, 20892 (20819 for express mail)
Telephone - 301-594-7576

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