It’s Their Time awards $100,000 for
Alzheimer’s research

From left, UTSW researcher Dr. Roger Rosenberg, It's Their Time founder Leslie Ann Crozier, and WFAA meteorologist Pete Delkus join in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.

By Sharon Reynolds

The devastation of Alzheimer’s disease has intimately touched the lives of Leslie Ann Crozier and her family, who have witnessed firsthand the decline of a loved one’s health.

In January 2017, inspired to channel her family’s heartbreak into hope for others, Ms. Crozier founded It’s Their Time, a nonprofit organization with a mission to fund advanced research and uncover solutions to prevent, delay, or successfully treat Alzheimer’s. With the disease being the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S., she hasn’t a moment to waste, and has hit the ground running.

“Alzheimer’s disease is going to remain our public health crisis this decade. Alzheimer’s does not discriminate. It strikes all. The disease is becoming more rampant and widespread, affecting and destroying the lives of millions of individuals and their caretakers,” Ms. Crozier said. “My passion is, and I want my legacy to be, to help someday to find a cure for this deadly disease. In 116 days, we created a mission statement, built a website, established a committee, and hosted our Kickoff Celebration Gala, where we had an outpouring of support from friends and family.”

With funds raised from the gala, It’s Their Time awarded $100,000 to support the collaborative project of UT Southwestern’s Dr. Roger Rosenberg, Professor of Neurology and Neurotherapeutics and Physiology, and Dr. Doris Lambracht-Washington, Assistant Professor of Neurology and Neurotherapeutics. Their project to develop a DNA vaccine, now in its final stages, has the potential to prevent or slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in humans. At UT Southwestern, Dr. Rosenberg has spent the past 30 years researching neurodegenerative diseases, particularly Alzheimer’s.

“At UT Southwestern, we believe that a future free from the specter of Alzheimer’s disease is possible,” said Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, President of UT Southwestern. “Philanthropy plays a key role in supporting research and clinical programs focused on cognitive and memory disorders. This gift from It’s Their Time comes at a critical point in Dr. Rosenberg’s research and move us one step closer to our vision of a world without Alzheimer’s disease.”

Dr. Rosenberg echoed that sentiment, calling the donation an extraordinary gift critical to the project’s success.

“This gift will help us determine the genetic and biochemical reason for the reduction of the tau protein, a major pathology of Alzheimer’s, which may lead to Food and Drug Administration approval to test the vaccine in people at risk for the disease,” he said. “It’s Their Time funding enables us to collect preliminary data so that we can apply for and potentially secure major comprehensive grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Alzheimer’s Association.”

Alzheimer’s remains the only disease among the top 10 causes of death in the U.S. that cannot be prevented, cured, or slowed. The Alzheimer’s Association describes the burden of care as tremendous – in 2016, caregivers provided more than 18 billion hours of unpaid assistance to a loved one. By 2050, it is estimated that more than half of all Americans over the age of 85 will have Alzheimer’s.

Dr. Podolsky holds the Philip O’Bryan Montgomery, Jr., M.D. Distinguished Presidential Chair in Academic Administration, and the Doris and Bryan Wildenthal Distinguished Chair in Medical Science.

Dr. Rosenberg holds The Abe (Brunky), Morris and William Zale Distinguished Chair in Neurology.