Mass General — Alzheimer’s Disease Research (Tanzi and Moir) (2018)

Massachusetts General Hospital
Award Date:
To continue to support a noncompetitive renewal study concerning the presence of non-human organisms in human brains and the possible impact on Alzheimer’s disease.

Good Ventures awarded a grant of $760,000 to Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) to support the continuation of a study led by Professors Rudolph Tanzi and Robert Moir on the impact of foreign organisms in the brain in Alzheimer's disease (AD).

We previously awarded these investigators funds to explore the idea that "brain microbes" may have a role in AD. Although it was previously known that certain neurotropic viruses are present in the brains of a majority of humans, no one had systematically surveyed the brains of normal or AD patients for foreign organisms (as evidenced by the presence of DNA or RNA). Based on preliminary results from Good Ventures' first year of funding, it appears that microbes are common in the brains of elderly people, and there may be a specific type of brain microbe associated with AD. With this second year of funding it is expected that the MGH team may generate enough data to bring the study to a definitive conclusion.

Good Ventures, with support from the Open Philanthropy Project, has been investigating how best to fund scientific research that might help reduce the future burden of Alzheimer's disease.

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