|February 19, 2004
New government funding has been approved to probe the links between cancer and Alzheimer's disease, two ailments that continue to take a major toll on the lives of millions around the globe. The funds will be used to support groundbreaking research at New York's Institute for Cancer Prevention (IFCP) in collaboration with Nobel Laureate Paul Greegard, Ph.D., director of the Fisher Center for Alzheimer's Research at The Rockefeller University.
Dr. Greengard will follow up on recent Fisher Center research conducted by William Netzer, Ph.D., and colleagues showing that the breakthrough cancer drug Gleevec slows the buildup of a toxic substance in the brain called beta-amyloid. Beta-amyloid is thought to underlie the mind-ravaging symptoms of Alzheimer's, and researchers are eager to find drugs that prevent it from damaging the brain. In the research, conducted in animals, the novel cancer drug and a related chemical compound diminished beta-amyloid production.
"We do not yet know the mechanisms by which Gleevec produces this effect on beta-amyloid," said Dr. Greengard. "Discovery of these mechanisms might enable us to develop new approaches for developing therapeutic agents to prevent and treat Alzheimer's and malignancies."
The funds will also be used to support IFCP scientists and to acquire state-of-the-art scientific instruments to support this new research initiative. The Institute for Cancer Prevention (formerly known as the American Health Foundation), located in Manhattan and Valhalla, New York, is the only National Cancer Institute designated cancer center exclusively devoted to cancer prevention research. Research by IFCP scientists over the last three decades has shown that up to 70% of human cancers are preventable.
"Cancer and Alzheimer's are two of the most heinous diseases that attack our loved ones," said U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York in a press release announcing the funding. "The Institute for Cancer Prevention is one of the world's very best research facilities, and the preliminary work it has done with Rockefeller University make us think that we might be able to uncover common causes of these two horrible afflictions. This funding is a real shot in the arm for some of the most interesting and important medical research being done anywhere in the world."
For more on Gleevec and the battle for the cause, care, and cure of Alzheimer's disease, visit the Fisher Center for Alzheimer's Research Foundation site at: www.ALZinfo.org.
By www.ALZinfo.org. The Alzheimer’s Information Site. Reviewed by scientists at the Fisher Center for Alzheimer's Research at The Rockefeller University.