The Texas Alzheimer’s Research and Care Consortium is a collaborative Alzheimer’s research effort directed and funded by the Texas Council on Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders (the Council), as part of the Darrell K Royal Texas Alzheimer’s Initiative. Established in 1999, initial Consortium members included Baylor College of Medicine (BCM), Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC), University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC), and the UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas (UTSW). In June 2006, these four Consortium members with the approval of the Council, began their work on establishing a comprehensive research cohort of well characterized subjects to address better diagnosis, treatment, and ultimately prevention of AD. In September 2009, the Council expanded TARCC to include the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA). The Council again expanded TARCC membership in 2013 with the inclusion of Texas A&M Health Science Center (TAMHSC) and in 2015 with the inclusion of the University of Texas at Austin as participating member sites.
Today, this large, well characterized research cohort (the Texas Harris Alzheimer's Research Study) contains clinical, neuropsychiatric, genetic, and blood biomarker data on more than 3000 participants diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease (AD), mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and normal study controls. A unique strength of the cohort is the enrollment of the largest number of Mexican American participants in an ongoing Alzheimer’s disease research study. The research cohort is a longitudinal study, where subjects are followed annually and data and samples are collected. Analysis of the longitudinal data set enables TARCC investigators to model changes in cognitive function over time, allowing identification of factors that affect not only risk, but disease progression.
The expansion of TARCC, coupled with increased funding, has greatly increased Texas’ capacity to advance research and discovery to improve early diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of Alzheimer's disease.
The vision of the Texas Legislature of a world without Alzheimer's disease provided $2 million in start-up funding for TARCC in 2005. This appropriation to the Council funded TARCC's first two years of operations, including volunteer recruitment, data collection and data management. In 2007, Texas lawmakers nearly doubled the state's initial investment to $3.9 million. In 2009, state lawmakers approved $6.85 million in funding for TARCC to build on its early work, recruit more volunteers (including participants diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment), and launch a new research focus into the impact of AD on Hispanics.
In 2011, the Legislature's appropriated $5.23 million for AD research. And in both the 2013-2015 and 2015-2017 biennia, the largest state appropriation to date for Alzheimer's research in Texas was secured by the Council - $9.23 million for each biennium.
Since 2005, the Texas Legislature has appropriated more than $36 million in state funding to the Council for Alzheimer's disease research in Texas.