Challenges of Availability

One of the most difficult aspects in researching treatments for Alzheimer’s disease is open access to the latest research. The need for near-immediate retrieval of newly published, and even unpublished, research cannot be stressed enough.

Because of this, the National Institute on Aging (NIA) approached WebFirst to help develop a comprehensive solution and start paving a new path forward.



Consolidating Resources and Enabling Collaboration


The first major obstacle to collaborative research was a lack of a central database. There was no main repository where interested parties could gain access to sponsored studies published in medical journals, as well as privately commissioned or independent research.

Working closely with the NIA, we designed a completely unique system of data storage, organization, and retrieval. Thus, the Alzheimer’s Preclinical Efficacy Database (AlzPED) is more than an information storage system—by using knowledge management and advanced open source search engine techniques, AlzPED can search meta information about each study more effectively and efficiently. It also integrates directly with research such as PubMed, PubChem, Clinical Trials, and patent databases to connect users to related and relevant data.

Redesigning Study Basics and Uncovering the Cure

One of the more ambitious undertakings by the NIA and NIH, and an aim of AlzPED, is the rethinking of how researchers design their studies; therefore, improving and standardizing parameters for research helps indicate to future researchers how to carry out an optimal study. A quick look at any of the available papers in the database, be they published or unpublished, reveals each contains:

  • Basic bibliographic data
  • Therapeutic agent used in the study
  • Experimental Design Report Card - Promoting Improved Study Design
  • A brief list of outcome results

This allows researchers to find exactly what they need, and fast.

All-in-all, the redesign, along with AlzPED itself, has been a welcome development, highlighted at conferences like the AAIC and the SFN Annual Meeting. It's been a great honor to work with NIA to develop this amazing new resource, and we look forward to AlzPED paving the way to new cures and continuously improving treatment in the future.

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