Recently the Government of Canada announced a new national effort to study age-related neurodegenerative diseases in a Canadian context, which includes LMP’s Dr. Lili-Naz Hazrati, along with several other UHN researchers.
Overall, the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA) involves more than 300 clinicians and researchers from across Canada. The teams will look at the current research on neurodegeneration and look at new and novel ways around the prevention, impact and progression of these diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, fronto-temporal dementia, and Lewy-body dementia.
We spoke with Dr. Lili-Naz Hazrati, a neuropathologist in LMP and one of UHN’s researchers involved in the project about her thoughts on the project and what this might mean for Canadians struggling with neurological disease:
“Alzheimer’s is a complex disease affecting a large portion of the population and with no known effective treatment,” said Dr. Hazrati. “And this initiative will place us upon a network of national and international researchers.”
In speaking about why UHN and LMP is involved, she explained that “we are one of the nationally recognized centers involved in research on Alzheimer’s disease. Our involvement is two-fold: direct basic research on Alzheimer’s Disease and brain banking of these cases.”
Dr. Hazrati tells us that most funding agencies do not support tissue banking which has limited the collection of brains with and without disease – which can limit how much you are able to investigate Alzheimer’s Disease. The collaborative project is designed to allow more coordinated research effort to understand faster the pathophysiology of this devastating disease and hasten the way to prevention or treatment.
“This initiative is hopefully just a start and if the interest in neurodegenerative disease is maintained at the government level, it has the potential to have a huge impact on the Canadian public,” she added. “Most neurodegenerative diseases are chronic incurable diseases that not only affect the patients, but are very difficult on the care givers and the health system with huge economic impact at all levels. The potential benefits of this project are enormous and I couldn’t be more excited to be involved!”