Alzheimer Biomarker Consortium - Down Syndrome (ABC-DS)

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The goal of the Alzheimer Biomarker Consortium – Down Syndrome (ABC-DS) is to conduct a long-term study of adults with Down syndrome to pinpoint early biomarkers of Alzheimer's disease. The ABC-DS scientists hope this data can be useful to inform clinical trials and improve the quality of life in people with Down syndrome and those in the typical population.

Principal Investigators

Bradley T ChristianBenjamin L HandenElizabeth HeadMark Mapstone


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common cause of dementia in the general population and the numbers of people living with the disease are rising exponentially. A similar event is occurring in the community of people with Down syndrome (DS) due, in part, to genetic risk (trisomy 21 and lifelong overexpression of APP) leading to overproduction of Aβ, combined with longer lifespans. The study of DS affords an opportunity to understand the timing and sequence of pathological changes associated with AD.

An overarching theme of the Alzheimer Biomarker Consortium – Down Syndrome (ABC-DS) is to characterize AD in DS, an issue of major and growing significance. Data generated from ABC-DS are necessary to determine if the AD pathological cascade is the same between DS and late onset AD (LOAD) or whether the pathogenic staging has distinct features. Parallels between the two highlights the importance of research with people with DS for advancing our overall understanding of AD, which in turn can form the basis for clinical trials.

To that end, ABC-DS assembles an exceptional and highly collaborative research team that will follow a cohort of people with DS to test hypotheses related to 1) how AD in DS may parallel sporadic AD within an amyloid, tau, neurodegeneration AT(N) framework and to identify modifiers of risk of conversion/progression (Project 1); 2) to identify genetic modifiers of the development of AD in DS (Project 2); and 3) to translate outcomes to a precision medicine framework and expedite clinical trials (Project 3). We will acquire harmonized clinical and neuropsychological outcomes (Clinical Core), neuroimaging outcomes (Neuroimaging Core), bio-fluids and genetics measures (Omics Core) and neuropathology data from autopsy (Neuropathology Core).

To rapidly disseminate information to our DS communities and to engage underrepresented minorities, we have a Core dedicated to outreach, recruitment and retention (ADDORE Core). Lastly, to build upon nationwide efforts to identify targets for interventions to slow or prevent AD, our Biostatistics and Data Management Core will make high quality data from all aspects of our study available to qualified researchers by distributing outcomes through LONI and ATRI. Access to the full ABC-DS dataset, including clinical, cognitive, neuroimaging and genetic data, must be requested from ABC-DS using this data request form. Here is the link. Following the lead of outstanding established AD networks (ADNI, DIAN), ABC-DS will make a significant contribution to national efforts to improve the quality of life of our aging population through advancing progress toward effective prevention and treatment of AD.