Center for Dementia Research (CDR)
The Center for Dementia Research (CDR) at NKI is a consortium of independent laboratories and research programs, directed by Dr. Ralph A. Nixon, dedicated to studies on the pathogenesis, diagnosis, and treatment of AD and other major neurodegenerative diseases. The CDR has become an internationally recognized research center, attracting outstanding personnel, and bringing millions of federal dollars annually to New York to help support its mission.
Although it has not been fully resolved whether or not senile plaques or NFTs cause AD, lowering amounts of these abnormal proteins has been a key objective of many clinical drug trials and pharmaceutical companies trying to develop new therapies to prevent or treat the disorder. CDR researchers have advanced this goal by identifying novel processes that can cause nerve cells to overexpress amyloid, thereby revealing new possibilities for blocking amyloid accumulation. CDR researchers employ animal and cellular models of Ab accumulation, tau accumulation, and Down syndrome (DS) to understand what is occurring in the brains of AD patients, with the goal of understanding the earliest changes that place people at risk, where therapeutic interventions are thought to most efficacious. CDR investigators were also some of the first to identify cholesterol-lowering drugs and estrogens as potential AD therapies.