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Emory Awarded $7.2M from NIA for Proteomic Research into Alzheimer's

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Emory University said today that its Alzheimer's Disease Research Center has been awarded a five-year, $7.2 million grant from the National Institute on Aging for research into proteins altered in Alzheimer's disease.

The focus of the effort, which the university said will use mass spec to analyze brain tissues collected through several national studies of aging, is to identify new therapeutic targets for the disease.

The researchers aim initially to identify proteins altered in early stage Alzheimer's patients – those exhibiting Alzheimer's pathology but no symptoms. They will then validate candidate markers emerging from this work in independent patient groups.

"We have developed a proteomics strategy that will allow us to discover the hundreds or thousands of protein changes that occur in the very first stages of Alzheimer's disease," Allan Levey, director of the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center and leader of the effort, said in a statement. "[A]pplying a systems biology approach, we will be able to pinpoint those proteins which are most central to the network of complex changes in the brain, which ones are most likely to first trigger the disease years before the onset of any symptoms, and hence, which ones are the most promising new targets for developing preventive therapies."

Emory will lead a team that includes researchers from five additional Alzheimer's Disease Research Centers at Rush University, University of California, Los Angeles, University of Washington, University of Pennsylvania and Johns Hopkins University.