June 17, 2019

Today, the Government of Canada announced the next phase of funding for the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA). From 2019 to 2024, CCNA will receive $46 million from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and 11 other partner organizations, including the Canadian Nurses Foundation (CNF).

Established in 2014—based on a partnership between the CIHR, the ASC, and 12 other public and private funding bodies—CCNA is led by Dr. Howard Chertkow, Professor of Neurology at the University of Toronto. CCNA is the largest initiative in dementia research ever undertaken in Canada; for Phase I, CCNA-affiliated members have managed to successfully leverage 1.5 times their initial allotted funds from other organizations, totaling $49 million. In Phase II, we expect to surpass this.

CCNA’s mission is to foster research collaborations across disciplines and universities to understand, manage, and treat age-related cognitive decline and dementia, which impacts over 400,000 Canadians today and will impact as many as 1.5 million Canadians by 2031. To accelerate and synergize research nation-wide, CCNA’s researchers work under three research themes (Prevention, Treatment, and Quality of Life) within 19 research teams, exploring a range of topics that include new projects focused on sleep and dementia. Researchers will also benefit from programs that will build their capacity in engaging people living with dementia in research; exploring Indigenous research topics and healthcare issues; and conducting research on special topics related to women, gender, sex, and dementia.

Canada is poised to become a leader in dementia prevention research through a new CCNA platform, the Canadian Aging and Neurodegeneration Prevention Therapy Study Using Multidimensional Interventions for Brain Support – Unified Platform (CAN-THUMBS UP). The infrastructure and master protocol being created for this large-scale dementia prevention study will enable researchers to work on goals that align with international prevention initiatives as they will test combination therapies and lifestyle changes, such as physical activity, cognitive training, and diet, on individuals who are at higher risk of developing dementia as they age.

CCNA has also implemented a unique observational cohort study. The Comprehensive Assessment of Neurodegeneration and Dementia (COMPASS-ND), is the only cohort study in the world that is collecting such a wealth of data on seniors with different types and severities of dementia. To date, 800 people have been included in this study across Canada. CCNA aims to leverage the eventual release of COMPASS-ND data to collaborate with other provincial, national, and international studies, including the Ontario Neurodegenerative Disease Research Initiative (ONDRI), the Consortium for the Early Identification of Alzheimer’s Disease – Québec (CIMA-Q), the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA), the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI), Dementia’s Platform UK, the Genetic Frontotemporal dementia Initiative (GENFI), and World Wide FINGERS (WW-FINGERS).

Nurse-led research has played a significant role in CCNA’s success to date.1,2 The contribution of CNF in Phase II will ensure that nurse-led research will be a part of the anticipated significant breakthroughs in understanding, preventing, treating, and managing neurodegeneration and dementia.


For Federal Government National Dementia Strategy announcement click here