A new challenge to combat Alzheimer’s disease was announced last week by the Global CEO Initiative on Alzheimer’s Disease (CEOi), Sage Bionetworks and DREAM Project. The challenge aims to bring together experts in big data and science to fight against Alzheimer’s disease – of which more than 40 million people suffer from globally, costing nearly $600 billion is care.

“This challenge will showcase the power of open science in breaking down barriers that slow innovation in the race to cure Alzheimer’s disease,” said Stephen Friend, President and Co-Found of Sage Bionetworks. “We believe our partnership with the CEOi in this fight will help to spur additional private sector actions and bridge the gap that exists between the private and public sectors.”

The challenge is designed for contestants to build a robust roadmap of new Alzheimer’s disease “biomarkers.” The contestants that construct the best model to predict cognitive scores using both ADNI and outside data will be awarded the prize. The independent panel will also look at models that perform the best by using only 100 variables.

The test data will be provided by ADNI and will include results from imaging, clinical, whole genome sequencing and a number of cognitive tests – all of which will be taken from a group of individuals who have aged normally, suffer from mild-cognitive impairment or have Alzheimer’s disease.

“Alzheimer’s and dementia pose a global health crisis on an unprecedented scale, yet there is still no global action plan to stop the disease,” said George Vradenburg, convener of the CEO Initiative on Alzheimer’s disease, and chairman of USAgainstAlzheimer’s. “It is essential that we develop a global framework that unites government and business in a coordinated effort to increase innovation through real-time data sharing, so that we may discover a means of treatment and prevention for Alzheimer’s and dementia.”

The winners of the challenge will be announced later this year.

(Image Credit: *Ann Gordon)

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