The New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, announced legislation to launch a consortium of public and private research groups to investigate the genetics of Alzheimer’s disease. The five-year initiative, called the SUNY Curing Alzheimer’s Health Consortium, will analyse the genetics of 1 million people who suffer from or are at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease over 5 years. The initiative aims to identify genes that can predict risk for Alzheimer’s development and help to identify opportunities to develop therapeutics and a potential cure for Alzheimer’s.

The State University of New York (SUNY) is running the program with $20 million funding from the Empire State Development’s (ESD) Life Sciences Initiative to support the identification and recruitment of the first 200,000 participants for genetic testing. Upon completion of the mapping of the one million genomes, the resulting database will be made freely available to advance research on Alzheimer’s disease. 

Cuomo has stated that genomics “could present major breakthroughs in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease” and that consortium “will collect genomic data on a state-wide scale and support genetic researchers as they work to slow the deadly progress of this disease”. SUNY will issue a request for proposals in partnership with ESD Life sciences initiative for private providers, not-for-profit, hospitals, and research institutions to partner with the SUNY system.

According to the Department of Health, in 2017 an estimated 390,000 individuals in New York State suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, and this is expected to increase to 460,000 by 2025.

The legislation for the consortium is part of a 30-day amendment to the fiscal 2021 Executive Budget.