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NIH Grant to support Mount Sinai Research Program to Create Biological Network Model of Alzheimer’s Disease in partnership with New York Stem Cell Foundation
Date:9/18/2013

lines from a large number of patients in a massively parallel process. “Existing approaches have failed to identify new Alzheimer’s therapeutics and I believe that through this multifaceted approach we will collaborate to identify and validate new drug targets for Alzheimer’s patients,” said Dr. Noggle.

Sam Gandy, MD, PhD, Director of the Center for Cognitive Health at Mount Sinai, and a principal investigator in the study, said, “This research is of paramount importance. Currently, no effective disease-modifying or preventive drugs exist for common, late onset Alzheimer’s Disease. Despite decades of intensive conventional research, the causal chain of mechanisms behind sporadic Alzheimer’s Disease has remained elusive. This multi-scale, computational strategy, combined with target validation in mouse brain, in fly brain, and in stem cell models, is already providing clues to unanticipated pathways and new drug discovery opportunities.”

The NIH grant (NIA grant AG 046170-01) was developed under a recent initiative specifically aimed at understanding the complexity of Alzheimer’s disease. This approach assumes that Alzheimer’s might best be explained and treated by focusing on genes that serve as “hubs” that interconnect a group of genes. These hubs are important because when they malfunction and cause Alzheimer’s, they cause predictable malfunctions of the entire group of connected genes. This approach leverages big data and high-end analytical approaches to develop predictive network models of disease. As a key source of data, the Mount Sinai investigators will study gene expression in brains from the Mount Sinai Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center Brain Bank that specializes in identifying the very earliest stages of Alzheimer’s. This brain bank was established over 35 years ago and is considered to be one of the best such resources in the world.

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