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KU Receives NIH Grant For Alzheimer’s Treatment Research

Armen Hareyan's picture

The University of Kansas has received a $2.1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to conduct research on drugs that may help finding Alzheimer’s disease treatment. The four-year grant was awarded to Mary Michaelis, professor of pharmacology and toxicology.

“We’ve already identified two very promising drugs,” Michaelis said. “The two drugs protect neurons against toxicity produced by a small protein, beta-amyloid, that accumulates in Alzheimer’s disease. People think this peptide causes Alzheimer’s dementia.”

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The goal of the research is to develop at least one of these drugs, or a derivative, to the point where Michaelis can file an investigational new drug application that would allow testing on human subjects.

The Alzheimer's disease treatment research award is part of a newer NIH grant category targeted at collaborators who have the capacity to translate their research into practical applications. Michaelis will work closely with experts in various fields, such as chemical synthesis and behavioral research, to study the role of their drug target, develop a dosing schedule and evaluate the effects of the treatment on memory impairment and abnormal brain protein deposits.

Michaelis’ collaborators in the research include Brian Blagg, associate professor of medicinal chemistry; Stephen Fowler, professor of pharmacology and toxicology and senior scientist at KU’s Life Span Institute; and Roger Rajewski, research professor at KU’s Higuchi Biosciences Center and director of KU’s Biotechnology Innovation and Optimization Center. Experts from the KU Medical Center include Kathy Newell, assistant professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, and Scott Weir, professor of pharmacology, toxicology and therapeutics.