With millions of new dollars for research on Down syndrome, federal officials have effectively doubled their investment in understanding the chromosomal disorder in the last year alone.

The National Institutes of Health said it has committed to some $35 million in additional grants for the 2019 fiscal year, bringing the agency’s total spend on Down syndrome research to $77 million.

As of this time last year, NIH funding for Down syndrome stood at $36.8 million.

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The latest grants are part of the agency’s INvestigation of Co-occurring conditions across the Lifespan to Understand Down syndromE, or INCLUDE, project. The initiative, which began in 2018, brings together several NIH institutes and centers to address health and quality-of-life issues among those with the chromosomal disorder while also examining co-occurring conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, autism, cataracts, celiac disease, congenital heart disease and diabetes.

“Individuals with Down syndrome are both affected by and protected against many of the conditions that afflict the general population,” said Francis S. Collins, director of the NIH. “By improving our understanding of the basic biological mechanisms of Down syndrome, and making clinical trials more accessible and specifically tailored to individuals with Down syndrome, we expect that research from the INCLUDE project will benefit everyone.”

The NIH funding is going toward projects examining the genetics of Down syndrome, congenital heart defects common in those with the condition and trials to address sleep apnea in children with the chromosomal disorder, among other efforts.