The institute now known as the Banner Sun Health Research Institute was started in 1986 by its founding president and senior scientist Joseph Rogers, Ph.D., who believed Sun City was exactly the right place to establish a world-class research center dedicated to diseases of aging.
With more than 100,000 residents over the age of 65, the Sun City community has offered a wealth of resources for researchers interested in studying aging.
In 1987, the institute began its now world-renowned brain and body bank, which sends samples around the world for study. More than 3,000 people have enrolled as donors and more than 1,400 have come to autopsy. The Brain and Body Donation Program is the pathology core for the Arizona Alzheimer's Consortium.
Banner Sun Health Research Institute researchers have contributed greatly to better understanding of Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, inflammation and general age-related disorders. Their achievements include:
- Research on inflammation damage to brain tissue and how that affects Alzheimer's disease.
- Conducting clinical trials in innovative treatment to treat symptoms of Parkinson's disease and slow its progression
- Working to better understand how Parkinson's disease starts and how it progresses.
- Developing biomarkers to better diagnose Parkinson's disease and track its progression.
- Studies showing that medications that lower cholesterol may be an effective treatment for Alzheimer's.
- Studies on the influence of cerebrovascular and cardiovascular circulation on Alzheimer's disease pathogenesis and clinical course.
- Studies developing cardiac stem cells as a means of treating congestive heart failure.
- Translational science with direct applicability from bench to bedside.
- Multiple labs working on biomarkers for Alzheimer's disease, including BACE, CR1, epigenetic markers, sRAGE and tau.
We are one of just 30 national Alzheimer’s Disease Core Centers in the nation. Research at the Institute is funded by grants from such agencies and foundations as the National Institutes of Health, the Michael Fox Foundation and private donations.
The institute maintains collaborations with nationally recognized centers such as Johns Hopkins, Boston University and the University of Washington.