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UTHealth researcher receives grant for Alzheimer's study
Date:9/29/2010

HOUSTON The Alzheimer's Association has awarded a three-year, $200,000 grant to Claudio Soto, Ph.D., professor of neurology at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), to pursue a procedure that could detect pre-symptomatic Alzheimer's disease.

"The main goal of this project is to develop an efficient and early biochemical diagnosis such as a blood test that can tell people they are in the process to develop Alzheimer's disease perhaps years before any brain damage or disease symptoms appear," said Soto, director of the George P. and Cynthia W. Mitchell Center for Alzheimer's Disease and Related Brain Disorders at UTHealth. "This would allow treatment to begin much earlier with the ultimate goal that disease symptoms would not occur in their lifetime."

Soto and his research team at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston, part of UTHealth, will be testing their own innovative process to amplify biomarkers of protein misfolding and aggregation. This process has been successful in pre-clinical studies. The team will try to repeat that discovery in human biological fluids including cerebrospinal fluid and blood. Protein misfolding and aggregation have been linked to the brain damage experienced by Alzheimer's patients.

There is currently no test to detect Alzheimer's disease before the appearance of symptoms, which include memory changes, problem solving difficulties, trouble completing routine tasks and confusion with space or time. The disease eventually leads to death as symptoms increase. According to the Alzheimer's Association, an estimated 5.3 million Americans suffer from the disease and it is the seventh leading cause of death. From 2000 to 2006, Alzheimer's deaths increased 46 percent while deaths from heart disease, stroke, breast cancer and prostate cancer decreased.


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Contact: Deborah Mann Lake
deborah.m.lake@uth.tmc.edu
713-500-3030
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Source:Eurekalert

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