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SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 13, 2020
MEDIA CONTACT: John Gillespie | john.gillespie@downstate.edu | (718)270-2262

Governor Cuomo Announces 30-Day Amendment to FY 2021 Executive Budget to Establish SUNY Curing Alzheimer's Health Consortium

Initiative Will Map Genetics of 1 Million People Suffering from or At-Risk of
Alzheimer's Over 5 years

Consortium to include SUNY Downstate
Center of Excellence for Alzheimer’s Disease

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a 30-day amendment to the FY 2021 Executive Budget which will include legislation to establish the SUNY Curing Alzheimer's Health Consortium within the State University of New York. The Consortium will work to identify genes that predict an increased risk for developing Alzheimer's and collaborate with public and private research institutions on projects and studies to identify opportunities to develop new therapeutic treatment and cures for Alzheimer's. The goal of the Consortium will be to map the genetics of 1 million people, suffering from or at-risk of developing Alzheimer's Disease, over 5 years. This new wealth of data will support researchers as they work towards developing new treatments and cures for the disease.

"Alzheimer's Disease affects hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers each year and takes a devastating toll on both patients and caregivers who lack access to sufficient treatment options due to an insufficient body of research" Governor Cuomo said. "Genomics have made significant progress in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases ranging from cancer to cardiovascular disease, and could present major breakthroughs in the fight against Alzheimer's Disease. The Curing Alzheimer's Health Consortium will collect genomic data on a statewide 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 Empire State Development's Life Sciences Initiative for private providers to partner with the SUNY system and other not-for-profit and private hospitals, and non-profit higher education research institutions to map the genomes of individuals suffering from or at risk of Alzheimer's. The ESD Life Science Initiative will provide $20M in existing funding to the Consortium to identify and recruit 200,000 people for genetic testing as part of phase one of the initiative.

Entities awarded the RFP will partner with SUNY's systems, including SUNY Upstate Medical, SUNY Downstate Medical, Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at University at Buffalo, as well as other medical centers and hospitals, to launch an initial phase of their partnership that will map 1 million people suffering from, or at risk of, Alzheimer's over 5 years. Upon completion of the mapping, the resulting database will be made freely available to advance research on Alzheimer's Disease.

Alzheimer's in New York
According to the Department of Health, in 2017 an estimated 390,000 individuals in New York State suffered from Alzheimer's Disease, a figure that is expected to increase to 460,000 by 2025. Despite its prevalence, there remains a concerning lack of research and available treatment options to address Alzheimer's, which contributes to staggering disability and disease burden for patients, their families and society, and billions in economic costs annually to the State

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About SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University is the borough’s only academic medical center for health education, research, and patient care, and is a 342-bed facility serving the healthcare needs of New York City, and Brooklyn’s 2.6 million residents. University Hospital of Brooklyn (UHB) is Downstate’s teaching hospital, backed by the expertise of an outstanding medical school and the research facilities of a world-class academic center. More than 800 physicians, representing 53 specialties and subspecialties—many of them ranked as tops in their fields—comprise Downstate's staff.

A regional center for cardiac care, neonatal and high-risk infant services, pediatric dialysis, and transplantation, Downstate also houses a major learning center for children with physical ailments or neurological disorders. In addition to UHB, Downstate comprises a College of Medicine, College of Nursing, School of Health Professions, a School of Graduate Studies, a School of Public Health, and a multifaceted biotechnology initiative, including the Downstate Biotechnology Incubator and BioBAT for early-stage and more mature companies, respectively. For more information, visit www.downstate.edu or follow us on Twitter at @sunydownstate.