UCSF awarded grants to study Alzheimer’s disease
Two individual groups of UC San Francisco researchers have been awarded Allen Distinguished Investigator (ADI) grants of more than $1 million each, according to the school.
The grants were awarded from The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation to “understand the cellular machinery underlying the neurodegenerative effects of Alzheimer’s disease.”
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In patients with Alzheimer’s disease, dying brain cells accumulate clumps of proteins that are tough to dissolve. The mystery researchers are trying to solve is why neurons fail to dissolve these molecules.
Aimee Kao, MD, PhD, assistant professor of neurology, and her collaborators Diane L. Barber, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Cell and Tissue Biology, Matt Jacobson, PhD, professor of pharmaceutical chemistry and Torsten Wittman, PhD, associate professor of cell and tissue biology, aim to use their three-year ADI grant of $1.3 million to test cellular pH.
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“Most people, including myself, would say…the pH changes are simply a reflection of the poor health of the neurons,” said Kao. “Our hypothesis now is that the pH changes are an earlier event in the development of disease.”
On a separate, three-year, $1.4 million ADI grant, Michael Keiser, PhD, assistant professor of pharmaceutical chemistry, Martin Kampmann, PhD, assistant professor of biochemistry and biophysics, and David Kokel, PhD, assistant professor of physiology, plan to combine three innovative techniques at the Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases to understand how networks of genes and proteins drive Alzheimer’s disease.
Using a “systems pharmacology” approach, the group plans to analyze 500,000 drug compounds to understand how they influence networks of genes controlling disease processes in cells. They also plan to use functional genomics and a zebrafish model of Alzheimer’s disease to understand how cells handle neurodegenerative processes.
“Few researchers in the field so far have combined such broad, unbiased views of what the cell might be doing when it’s trying to deal with these neurodegenerative processes,” said Keiser.
Dubai's new smart neuro spinal hospital: need to know
We take a look at Dubai's new smart hospital.
What: The Neuro Spinal Hospital and Radiosurgery Centre is a new hospital featuring state-of-the-art technology for spinal, neurosurgical, neurological, orthopaedic, radiosurgery and cancer treatments. The 700 million AED hospital, (equivalent to £138 million), has 114 beds, smart patient rooms, and green spaces for patient rehabilitation, and is four times the capacity of its former premises in Jumeirah. It is also the UAE’s first hospital to have surgical robots.
Where: The hospital is located in the Dubai Science Park. Founded in 2005, Dubai Science Park is home to more than 350 companies from multinational corporations in life sciences, biotechnology and research; over 4,000 people work here each day.
Who: The UAE's Neuro Spinal Hospital and Radiosurgery Centre was first established in Jumeirah in 2002 by Dr. Abdul Karim Msaddi, as the first as the first "super-specialty" neuroscience hospital.
Why: With advanced diagnosis and robotics, the hospital will provide care across neuroscience, spine, orthopaedics and oncology for people residing in the UAE, as well as international patients.
Prof. Abdul Karim Msaddi, Chairman and Medical Director of the hospital, said: “We are proud to bring world-class healthcare services to Dubai and believe our next-generation hospital will be a game-changer for the emirate’s and the region’s medical industry.
"It will not only significantly increase the availability of specialist neuroscience and radiosurgery treatments and provide better patient care but help attract and develop local and international talent. Investing in the new centre represents our continued faith in the resilience of the region’s economy, as well as a testament to our ongoing drive towards healthcare innovation in the UAE.”