The University of Kentucky’s Sanders-Brown Center on Aging has been awarded an $8.25 million, five-year grant to continue its work on Alzheimer’s disease.
The grant will continue Sanders-Brown’s designation as an Alzheimer’s Disease Center, one of only 30 in the country. UK’s center was among the first 10 centers designated in 1985, and it has been continuously funded since then.
“We’re honored that the NIH continues to recognize the caliber and scope of our work with this grant,” Sanders-Brown director Linda Van Eldik said.
Sanders-Brown specializes in detecting early changes in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s and other age-related dementias, Van Eldik said. The work is made possible in part by a large cohort of more than 800 volunteers — both healthy and cognitively impaired — in the Sanders-Brown Longitudinal Study. The study generates significant amounts of data about how healthy brain aging occurs, and when and why some people develop Alzheimer’s.
But, she said, Sanders-Brown tries to help entire families.
“We often say Alzheimer’s is a family disease,” Eldick said. “It affects the patient primarily, but it is a devastating financial and emotional burden for family and caregivers as well. Sanders-Brown offers outreach, education and support to help patients and their families get the help they need to lead active and engaged lives.”
Sanders-Brown opened in 1963. A grant from the Eleanor and John Y. Brown Jr. Foundation in 1972 started the construction of the current Sanders-Brown Research Building on South Limestone. The center was named for the Browns, and John Y. Brown’s business partner at the time, Col. Harland Sanders, the creator of Kentucky Fried Chicken.
UK President Eli Capilouto said UK is one of 21 universities in the United States to house a National Cancer Institute research center in Markey Cancer Center, a NIH-funded Center for Clinical and Translational Science and an Alzheimer’s research center.
“The Sanders-Brown Center on Aging is one of UK’s outstanding centers, and continued federal funding from the National Institutes of Health is yet another acknowledgment of its excellence,” Capilouto said. “The University of Kentucky is proud to play a leading role in the international effort to discover solutions for what is arguably one of society’s greatest medical mysteries and challenges.”