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Institute for Applied Cancer Science

Neurodegeneration Consortium (NDC)

The Neurodegeneration Consortium (NDC) is a transformative multi-institutional initiative that will advance the study and treatment of Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. The consortium was established with a $25 million gift from the Robert A. and Renee E. Belfer Family Foundation and is a collaboration between MD Anderson, Baylor College of Medicine and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The Belfers’ commitment is contingent on the consortium partners raising a matching $25 million in private philanthropy. Support this transformative venture by donating through the NDC myGiving site now.The consortium’s mission is to identify key molecular targets that cause Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases and to rapidly translate these discoveries into treatments.

Why NDC provides hope

While the Alzheimer’s field has traditionally focused on one major theory, the so-called amyloid hypothesis, this research direction has not resulted in any therapeutic options for patients. Additionally, the root cause of neuronal degeneration remains unknown. The consortium is taking an innovative strategy that will focus on alternative hypotheses that include neuronal protection. The goal of the consortium is to employ an innovative research and development infrastructure that will result in changing Alzheimer’s from a terminal diagnosis into a treatable condition.

Consortium priorities


IACS role 

MD Anderson’s Institute for Applied Cancer Science (IACS) will serve as the drug discovery and development component of the consortium. The consortium will leverage the infrastructure and expertise of the entire Institute, with Ming-Kuei Jang, Ph.D., associate director of neurobiology, serving as the lead within IACS for activities related to the consortium. Jang will also be the liaison between researchers at all three institutions, serving to prioritize identified targets for further development into clinical candidates.

Why IACS is the logical drug development partner

IACS is a unique organizational construct designed to integrate the best attributes of academic science and pharmaceutical drug discovery.  The goal of this innovative venture is to convert well validated targets and the biological insights around them into new and effective therapies, as well as diagnostics, and to advance these therapeutic candidates into innovative clinical trials. IACS has developed the functional components necessary develop therapeutics, regardless of the disease target. To efficiently conduct professional drug discovery in an academic setting, the IACS has established fully integrated milestone-driven project teams with over 200-years of drug development experience that couples diverse expertise in mouse modeling, compound screening, drug discovery biology, medicinal chemistry, genomics, bioinformatics, and translational biomarker discovery toward a singular goal.

NDC Project Team

© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center