Validation of a Performance Based Measure of Functioning in MCI and Early AD

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: National Institutes of Health
Contract: 4R44AG058345-02
Agency Tracking Number: R44AG058345
Amount: $946,528.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2018
Solicitation Year: 2017
Solicitation Topic Code: NIA
Solicitation Number: PAS17-064
Small Business Information
1709 LEGION RD STE 221, Chapel Hill, NC, 27517-2374
DUNS: 175615165
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: Y
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 (919) 401-4642
Business Contact
Phone: (919) 401-4642
Research Institution
Project Summary Alzheimer s disease AD is expected to rise in prevalence from to million Americans by leading to of deaths among adults over This epidemic is projected to overwhelm healthcare and economic resources with costs reaching $ billion in the US in and $ trillion by There is no cure for AD and no new drugs have been successful in treating the advanced stages of AD related dementia A growing body of research suggests that early phases of the disease such as Mild Cognitive Impairment MCI and mild AD are more likely to be responsive to disease modifying compounds Drug development strategies are focused primarily on prevention and early intervention in these high risk early AD populations Advances in clinical trials will require psychometrically rigorous measures capable of detecting subtle cognitive and functional changes indicative of the early disease process Accurate assessment of functional capacity is especially critical for determining whether investigational treatments provide meaningful therapeutic benefit to everyday functioning Many tests of functional ability are designed to assess basic activities of daily living ADLs such as bathing and eating However these skills are typically preserved in MCI and mild AD In these early phases subtle but observable deficits are more likely to occur in instrumental ADLs IADLs such as shopping and cooking At present there are limited options for reliable sensitive determination of IADL functioning in these critical populations The shortcomings of traditional functional assessments used in AD drug trials have been well established and include biases in caregiver reports lack of established reliability and outdated role play tasks Despite growing scientific consensus regarding the need for improved measurement of functional capacity no new assessments have been developed for use in MCI or mild AD NeuroCog Trials developed the Virtual Reality Functional Capacity Assessment Tool VRFCAT as a computerized performance based assessment of functional capacity designed to simulate real world IADLs Using a realistic virtual environment the VRFCAT assesses functional performance in the context of a typical trip to the grocery store Initially developed for use in patients with severe mental illness the VRFCAT has demonstrated strong psychometric properties and has been implemented in large scale clinical trials for schizophrenia and major depression The proposed Fast Track project will create and validate a new version of the VRFCAT specifically for MCI and mild AD VRFCAT MCI based on established standards for adapting computerized cognitive tests for new target groups Pilot testing will assess the suitability of the existing VRFCAT and identify any needed software customizations In Phase II we will execute a comprehensive validation study to examine the psychometric properties of the VRFCAT MCI broadening the commercial and scientific value of this innovative tool in an effort to accelerate breakthrough treatments to delay slow and prevent AD Project Narrative Traditional functional assessments used in Alzheimer s disease AD drug trials lack sensitivity to subtle deficits observed early in the disease at the stages of mild cognitive impairment MCI and mild AD This poses a problem when assessing the effectiveness of novel therapeutic treatments for early stage disease and highlights the need for improved measures for use in clinical trials The current project will develop and validate the Virtual Reality Functional Capacity Assessment Tool for MCI and Mild AD VRFCAT MCI a novel performance based assessment of function with improved sensitivity to functional impairments in MCI and early stage AD

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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