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Congratulations to Dr. Ben Albensi, one of five Manitoba-based researchers collaborating with 300 other Canadian scientists on 19 research teams to help prevent, treat and cure age-related neurodegenerative diseases.

The government of Canada recently announced an investment of $46 million to CCNA from 2019-2024, primarily from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and 11 other partner organizations, including the Alzheimer Society of Canada (ASC), the Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation (CABHI) and Brain Canada.

At a glance

CCNA is the largest initiative in dementia research ever undertaken in Canada; for Phase I, CCNA-affiliated members have managed to successfully leverage 1.5 times their initial allotted funds from other organizations, totaling $49 million. In its second phase of funding, CCNA will bring together over 310 researchers from 39 universities in eight provinces across Canada, and these researchers will continue to leverage funding and foster collaborations with other international studies on dementia.

CCNA’s mission is to foster research collaborations across disciplines and universities to understand, manage, and treat age-related cognitive decline and dementia which impact over 400,000 Canadians today, and will impact as many as 1.5 million Canadians by 2031. To accelerate and synergize research nationwide, CCNA researchers work under three research themes (Prevention, Treatment and Quality of Life) within nineteen research teams, exploring a range of topics that include new projects CCNA has also implemented a unique observational cohort study. The Comprehensive Assessment of Neurodegeneration and Dementia (COMPASS-ND) is the only cohort study in the world that is collecting a wealth of data on seniors in different types and severities of dementia. To date, 800 people have been included in this study across Canada. CCNA aims to leverage the eventual release of COMPASS-ND data to collaborate with other provincial, national, and international studies, including the Ontario Neurodegenerative Disease Research Initiative (ONDRI), the Consortium for the Early Identification of Alzheimer’s Disease – Quebec (CIMA-Q) and the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA), the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI), Dementia’s Platform UK, the Genetic Frontotemporal dementia Initiative (GENFI), and World Wide FINGERS (WW-FINGERS). A multidisciplinary group of six Manitoba based researched spread across five of the 19 CCNA teams, are members of CCNA (2% of the membership) CCNA is also dedicated to encouraging future generations of scientists to become involved n dementia-related studies and supports four trainees across the province.

Five University of Manitoba researchers contributes to the success of CCNA: Drs. Benedict Albensi, Barry Campbell, Verena Menec, Michelle Porter, and Phillip St. John.