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Turning the Page Together

Early last year ASPR started working with a client that had faced and overcome many institutional challenges. Initially, we were focused on telling the story of how this nonprofit had overcome the hurdles.

As the assignment continued, our team realized there was nothing wrong with that approach, but a better strategy was to focus on how to turn the page on the story and begin the next chapter. In other words, we believed our target audience would be more interested in current events rather than retrospectives.

Little did we know that a few weeks later COVID-19 would indeed present a new chapter and, with it, an even more challenging example of this client rising to the moment.

Indeed, the events of the past 12 months have been heartbreaking, frustrating and upsetting.

But we should never lose sight of what else is occurring. We like to remember that Apple, the most valuable company ever created, was started during the mid-’70s, a time when many were predicting long-term economic doom-and-gloom.

We don’t know what advancements are being created right now. But we’re on this journey together. How the story evolves and unfolds is in our hands.

We send you all best wishes for health and safety in 2021. Please stay in touch and let us know what’s new with you, your causes, your company.

An Alzheimer’s Breakthrough

ASPR is proud to share the following news:

Alzheimer’s Breakthrough: C₂N First to Offer a Widely Accessible Blood Test

Patients, advocates, and physicians who have long awaited an easy to administer blood test that can help them better understand Alzheimer’s disease now have a health care innovation that they can rely upon.

A breakthrough in Alzheimer’s disease has arrived with the introduction of C2N Diagnostics’ PrecivityAD™ blood test into the clinic. Researchers at C₂N Diagnostics have found the PrecivityAD™ test predicts Alzheimer’s brain pathology in people with memory and thinking issues. Based on data from 686 patients older than 60 years of age with subjective cognitive impairment or dementia, the PrecivityAD™ test correctly identified brain amyloid plaque status (as determined by quantitative amyloid PET scans) in 86% of the patients. The Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) for the analysis had an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.88. Further details of the test’s diagnostic performance are provided here.

The PrecivityAD™ test is a highly sensitive blood test using mass spectrometry and is performed in C₂N’s CLIA-certified lab. While the test by itself cannot diagnose Alzheimer’s disease — which is a clinical diagnosis made by a health care provider — the test is an important new tool for physicians to aid in the evaluation process.

The PrecivityAD™ test does not involve any radiation and is non-invasive. These features are expected to make the test more accessible than other diagnostic methods that physicians use to evaluate issues with memory and thinking.

Blood Test Unlocks Alzheimer’s Mysteries

The proprietary test involves a small blood sample from a person’s forearm. C₂N analyzes the blood in its specialized laboratory facility using mass spectrometry to measure the concentrations of amyloid beta 42 and 40 (Aβ42 and Aβ40), and the presence of apolipoprotein E (ApoE) isoforms in blood. The analysis process is automated and allows for C2N to process samples in a routine and repeatable manner.

C2N will send the physician the patient’s lab report. The lab report details the levels of the biomarkers and provides an overall combined score, known as the Amyloid Probability Score (APS), to assess the likelihood of amyloid plaques in the brain, which are a pathological hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.

  • A low APS (0-36) is consistent with a negative amyloid PET scan result and, thus, a low likelihood of amyloid plaques. Absence of amyloid plaques is inconsistent with an Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis and indicates other causes of cognitive symptoms should be investigated.

  • An intermediate APS (37-57) does not distinguish between the presence or absence of amyloid plaques and indicates further diagnostic evaluation may be needed to assess the underlying cause(s) for the patient’s cognitive symptoms.

  • A high APS (58-100) is consistent with a positive amyloid PET scan result and, thus, a high likelihood of amyloid plaques. Presence of amyloid plaques is consistent with an Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis in someone who has cognitive decline, but alone is insufficient for a final diagnosis; clinical presentation and other factors should be considered along with the APS.

Knowing that a patient’s symptoms may be due to Alzheimer’s can help inform a physician to prescribe specific Alzheimer’s treatments or lifestyle interventions in order to aid in the management of the disease. A recent study of patients adopting healthy lifestyle behaviors found a dramatic reduction in risk of dementia, between 37% and ~60%, depending on intensity of the behavioral changes.

Joel B. Braunstein, MD, CEO of C₂N says, “Our mission is to translate exceptional science into unique diagnostics that can help as many people as possible. The PrecivityAD™ blood test introduces a new option for patients, families and the medical community that have eagerly awaited innovative tools to address Alzheimer’s troubling problems.”

Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) regulators have granted C₂N’s lab a certificate; CLIA regulates clinical labs to ensure accurate and reliable test results for patient specimens.

The company is also moving ahead with development of a Brain Health Panel that seeks to detect multiple blood-based markers for Alzheimer’s disease to aid in better disease staging, treatment monitoring, and differential diagnosis.

Alzheimer’s Community Applauds Breakthrough

“This is an exciting and much-needed development,” says George Vradenburg, chairman and co-founder of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s. “The advance of blood-based tests for use by physicians in the Alzheimer’s diagnostic process is occurring at a much more rapid pace than many in the field have appreciated. Accessible, affordable, and earlier testing by physicians is essential to understand the underlying cause of any cognitive impairment and to more effectively make or rule out a clinical Alzheimer’s diagnosis. It is equally important that government and private payers fairly reimburse for the costs of any Alzheimer’s test that can aid in a physician’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s so that all Americans, regardless of income, can, if they wish, know whether they have Alzheimer’s or not.”

Jeff Cummings, MD, ScD, founding director of the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health and research professor, department of brain health, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, says, “Advances in Alzheimer’s diagnostics are key to more effective identification, diagnosis and clinical trial recruitment. A blood test for Alzheimer’s is a game changer.”

Visit www.PrecivityAD.com or call 1-877-226-3424 to learn more. The test is available in 45 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico; the exceptions are California, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and New York, which require individual state processes for CLIA labs. C₂N is working toward the requisite certificates that will permit the PrecivityAD™ test to be available in these states in the near future. Please periodically refer to the www.PrecivityAD.com or call 1-877-226-3424 for status updates on test availability in these five states.

Details about a financial assistance program and payment plans are also available.

Development of the PrecivityAD™ blood test has been funded partially by the National Institutes of Health, GHR Foundation, Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, and BrightFocus Foundation.

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About CN Diagnostics

CN’s Diagnostics’ vision is to bring Clarity Through Innovation™. It focuses its therapeutic discovery efforts around mechanism-based approaches to prevent or stop the progression of human neurological disorders. Diagnostic efforts revolve around bringing accurate, widely accessible, and cost-effective blood tests to the clinic for the betterment of patient care and brain health monitoring. Its lead commercial product, PrecivityAD™, is a mass spectrometry-based test that measures in blood multiple analytes including Aβ42, Aβ40, and apolipoprotein E isoforms. This test predicts brain amyloid plaques as determined by PET scan results and in early 2019 it received a Breakthrough Device Designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. For more information visit www.C2N.com.

Honoring Rep. Elijah Cummings

The late Rep. Elijah Cummings’ new book “We’re Better Than This,” details the formative moments in his life and powerfully weaves together the urgent drama of modern-day politics and the defining stories from his past. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings and co-author James Dale will join us Sept. 29 for a Q-and-A to share their insights. Register at http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07ehb5yy3o4851b73a&llr=opdveyrab

Rebooting American History

As America marks Constitution Day, research shows most Americans don’t know how many amendments the Constitution includes, one of the questions on the U.S. citizenship test. The National Assessment of Educational Progress also reports that the average U.S. history score for eighth grade students was four points lower in 2018 compared to 2014. One in five students say they have no interest in studying the Cold War. Advocates believe there’s an urgent need to transform the way American history is taught and learned.

 

The Driving Force Institute for Public Engagement (DFI) is launching to fill this need with an aim to make American history content interesting and relevant for today’s learners.

 

The new nonprofit’s initial effort involves creating and distributing a comprehensive American history video series that focuses on what is interesting to high school students. DFI says that video content, accessed by students both in the classroom and out of school, is the most effective underutilized tool available.

 

DFI’s UNTOLD series on YouTube is the home for new short form videos that will post each week during the 2020–21 school year.  All the videos are free. In addition, DFI is making related materials to support learning, whether in a traditional classroom, virtual or hybrid setting, available to educators.

 

For example, “How the Census Changed America” features eye-catching graphics and an engaging narrator to explain the failure of the first U.S. Census, why that upset Thomas Jefferson and how that led to innovative thinking that helped create an American business that exists today.

 

Makematic and the University of Southern California’s Center for Engagement-Driven Global Education (EDGE) create and distribute the videos. DFI is also collaborating with the New York Historical Society and XQ Super School.

 

Patrick Riccards, founder and chief executive officer of DFI, says, “To make a real difference in the learning of history, we must approach the problem from several angles, exploring different concerns to inject real solutions. As tens of millions of students across the country are forced to shift to virtual learning — and as their teachers look for new engaging learning materials to hold their students’ interests — now is the time to change the teaching and learning of American history.”

 

DFI is using an integrated set of efforts designed to get at the three legs of the history instruction stool:

 

Support instruction for current K–12 American history teachers, designed to both improve their own understanding of American history and empower them to better connect with their students and make history an exciting and worthwhile pursuit of study. As an incentive, teachers who successfully participate in DFI will receive micro-credentials and badges that signify they are part of a national network committed to improving American history instruction.

 

Curriculum design for both traditional classrooms and out-of-school-time environments,

changing the very way American history is taught in communities across the nation; and

 

Direct-to-consumer engagement, providing interesting and dynamic learning opportunities to students (and by extension, their families) through a digital platform.

 

To meet these needs, DFI will soon launch a pilot project that will recruit small teams of educators in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. This project will help shape the development of the website content, ensuring the most effective utilization possible.

 

Ultimately, DFI will seek to develop an online professional development platform, a series of “historians’ toolkits,” models for a “flipped” American history curriculum, and an archive of games and simulations for educators to use with students.

 

 

ASPR Supports Grade-Level Reading

The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (CGLR) announced the communities that are Pacesetters for their work during 2019 to support early school success. A collaborative effort by funders, nonprofit partners, business leaders, government agencies, states and communities to ensure that more children in low-income families succeed in school and graduate prepared for college, a career and active citizenship, CGLR focuses on promoting early school success as an important building block of more hopeful futures for children in economically challenged families and communities.

“We applaud the civic leaders and local funders whose time, talent, energy and imagination have fueled progress in these Pacesetter Communities,” says Ralph Smith, managing director of CGLR. “Mobilized communities — like these Pacesetters — support our big bet on the problem-solving potential of proximity.”

Pacesetters’ Journey

The process began in January when CGLR invited communities to file stories on its Community Learning for Impact & Improvement Platform (CLIP), using 16 categories that served as “tags” for each story when it was published on CLIP.

CGLR then asked the 112 communities that responded to self-nominate for Pacesetter Honors for one or more of their stories submitted for the What’s Working Community Challenge.

CGLR received self-nominations of 214 stories from 50 communities representing 23 states and one Canadian province. The nominated stories were considered, sorted and ranked by panels of community-based peer reviewers. By the end of the process, there were 2,000 story reviews filed by close to 400 peer reviewers.

“The commitment to peer review is a unique and important aspect of the Pacesetter Recognition process,” says Smith. “They bring a combination of local knowledge and real-world experience that adds heft and credibility to the Pacesetter Recognition process.”

Pacesetter Communities

CGLR recognizes the following 21 communities as recipients of 2019 Pacesetter Honors for “Mobilizing for Success” and “Deploying Innovative Strategies and Tools.” Click on the name of the community to be taken to that community’s profile page on CLIP, where its stories are available in the “Community Stories” section.

Avondale, AZ

Broward County, FL

Indian River County, FL

Miami-Dade County, FL

Palm Beach County, FL

Suncoast, FL

Council Bluffs, IA

Dubuque, IA

Grinnell, IA

Quad Cities, IA and IL

Sioux City, IA

Story County, IA

Shawnee County, KS

New Orleans, LA

Springfield, MA

Kansas City, MO

Durham County, NC

Nash and Edgecombe Counties, NC

Lehigh Valley, PA

Black Hills, SD

Virginia Beach, VA

CGLR recognizes the following 29 communities as Pacesetter Finalists for “Moving the Needle in Impact Areas.” After a second round of reviews later this summer, the Campaign will announce Pacesetter Honors in these categories in September.

Tempe, AZ

Stockton-San Joaquin County, CA

Hartford, CT

Broward County, FL

Delray Beach, FL

Indian River County, FL

Miami-Dade County, FL

Palm Beach County, FL

Suncoast, FL

Whitfield County, GA

Cedar Rapids, IA

Des Moines, IA

Grinnell, IA

Quad Cities, IA and IL

Sioux City, IA

Story County, IA

Shawnee County, KS

New Orleans, LA

Springfield, MA

Southeast Mississippi, MS

Durham County, NC

Nash and Edgecombe Counties, NC

New York City, NY

Lehigh Valley, PA

Philadelphia, PA

Nashville, TN

Salt Lake (Clearfield, Kearns, Park City and South Salt Lake), UT

Roanoke, VA

Virginia Beach, VA

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About the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

 

Launched in 2010, the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is a collaborative effort of funders, nonprofit partners, business leaders, government agencies, states and communities across the nation to ensure that many more children from low-income families succeed in school and graduate prepared for college, a career and active citizenship. Since its launch, CGLR has grown to include more than 300 communities, representing 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and two provinces in Canada — with 5,000+ local organizations and 510 state and local funders (including 200+ United Ways). To learn more, visit gradelevelreading.net and follow the movement on Twitter @readingby3rd.