Health
10:16 am
Fri December 14, 2012

KU Researcher Lands NIH Grant For Alzheimer’s Study

A University of Kansas researcher is partnering with a Harvard scientist on a $1.7 million study of a protein believed to play a role in Alzheimer's disease.

KU’s Chris Gamblin and Harvard’s Mel Feany are trying to understand the role of a protein called tau in Alzheimer’s disease. 

Gamblin says this protein normally serves to stabilize brain cells, but when something goes wrong with tau, it forms tangles inside the cells, and kills them.

“I’m hopeful that at the end of this four-year grant we have several different targets to start looking for either drugs to treat it, or looking for genetic modifiers that may slow down or stop tau pathology,” says Gamblin.

Gamblin says it’s conceivable that compounds could be ready for testing as early as five to ten years from now.  For the five million Americans with Alzheimer’s, the need for progress is urgent.

“That’s really the one thing that keeps us going, just the hope of being able to help people, because it is such a devastating disease.”

The study is funded by the National Institutes of Health.