The Texas Alzheimer’s Research and Care Consortium (TARCC), established and supervised by the Texas Council on Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders (the Council), is part of the state-funded Darrell K Royal Texas Alzheimer's Initiative.
TARCC Moving Forward
Hello and thank you for visiting the TARCC website!
Texas lawmakers made history in 2005 by approving an unprecedented appropriation for AD research. The vision of the Texas legislature of a world without AD, provided start-up funding for TARCC, the first, multi-institutional state-funded collaborative research initiative in Texas. The legislature has appropriated more than $27 million in state funding to TARCC since 2005. TARCC’s primary purpose is to discover new knowledge necessary for early diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of AD.
2014 is an exciting time of growth and new opportunities for TARCC. In the current biennium, the Texas Legislature appropriated $9.23 million to the Texas Council on Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders for TARCC research. This new level of funding will enable TARCC to significantly expand its efforts to enhance research in AD state-wide.
Two new initiatives we are particularly excited about as we move forward include expanding our study on the impact of AD in Mexican Americans and a new investigator grant program administered by Texas A&M University Health Science Center.
In 2009, TARCC began studying the impact of AD in Mexican Americans. With the addition of The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio to the Consortium's membership, TARCC extended its research reach to South Texas and began targeted enrollment of Mexican Americans into the Texas Harris Alzheimer's Research Study. This expansion was important for a number of reasons. First, Mexican Americans are the fastest growing ethnic group in Texas and are projected to represent a majority of the state's population by 2020. Second, this ethnic group is underrepresented in the medical literature as well as in AD research. Dr. Sid O’Bryant has recently published a study in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, looking at biomarkers of AD among Mexican Americans. This provocative study shows that the biomarker profile for AD among Mexican American cases is significantly different from that previously identified among non-Hispanic cases from many large-scale studies. This is the first study to explicitly examine and provide support for blood-based biomarkers of AD among Mexican Americans. A unique strength of TARCC is the enrollment of the largest number of Mexican American participants in an ongoing Alzheimer’s disease research study. Going forward, TARCC plans to expand this novel area of research by increasing enrollment of Mexican Americans.
TARCC is also seeking to advance AD research efforts in Texas by developing a state-wide cadre of investigators focused on AD and neurodegeneration in the aging brain. The TARCC Investigator Outreach Grant Program, developed and administered by Texas A&M University Health Science Center, will aim to increase awareness and utilization of TARCC cohort resources (data and samples) as well as to stimulate novel discovery science that furthers our understanding of AD. Although open to all faculty, the program will seek to target junior-level investigators. Projects from both clinical and basic research faculty will be actively solicited through targeted mailings and program advertisements. The goal is to jump-start collaborative research projects across the state as well as to fully utilize TARCC resources. Details regarding grant program deadlines and submission criteria will be available soon. Please check back for updates.
TARCC Research Updates
Breaking Research News
TARCC investigators have been involved in a number of new, noteworthy AD studies. Recently published research is wide ranging, spanning the gamut from clinical trials to new cognitive diagnostics; blood-based biomarkers in Mexican-Americans; and validation of biomarker algorithms in AD patients and AD animal models.
Rachelle Doody, MD, PhD, Effie Marie Cain Chair in Alzheimer's Disease Research, and Professor of Neurology in the Department of Neurology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston; TARCC Advisory Steering Committee Member.
Dr. Doody was lead author on behalf of the Alzheimer's Disease Study Group (ADCS) of a recent publication in the New England Journal of Medicine. The results of that study showed that Solanezumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody that binds amyloid, failed to improve cognition or functional ability in two, phase-3 double blind clinical trials. (N Eng J Med 370:311-321, 2014).
Donald Royall, MD, Chief of the Division of Aging and Geriatric Psychiatry, Julia and Van Buren Parr Professor of Geriatric Psychiatry, and a Professor in the departments of Medicine and Pharmacology at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio; TARCC Advisory Steering Committee Member.
Dr. Royall, on behalf of TARCC, published a study in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease where he described a new latent dementia proxy and validated it in several datasets, including well characterized subjects participating in the TARCC study. This type of analysis may make factor scores derived from latent variables a potentially attractive solution for dementia case-finding in rural or minority populations. (J Alzheimers Dis 37:89-97, 2013).
Sid O'Bryant, PhD, Interim Director - Institute for Aging and Alzheimer's Disease Research, Associate Professor of Internal Medical at University of North Texas Health Science Center; TARCC Investigator and former TARCC Advisory Steering Committee Member.
Dr. O'Bryant published a study in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, looking at biomarkers of AD among Mexican-Americans. This provocative study shows that the biomarker profile for AD among Mexican American cases is significantly different from that previously identified among non-Hispanic cases from many large-scale studies. This is the first study to explicitly examine and provide support for blood-based biomarkers of AD among Mexican Americans. (J Alzheimers Dis 34:849-849, 2013).