October 18, 2012
“All attempts to develop a drug that stems the progression of Alzheimer’s disease or reverses its devastating mental decline have thus far failed large-scale clinical trials, in spite of the fact that most of these attempts have targeted beta amyloid, a toxic protein responsible for causing the major symptoms of Alzheimer’s. One of the main reasons for these failures is that all of the drugs tested lack selectivity. Most have targeted beta amyloid and although some have succeeded in lowering beta amyloid, they’ve run into trouble by targeting other processes that are vital to life.
“My laboratory has been making a coordinated effort to find ways in which drugs might selectively target beta amyloid without toxic side effects. Several projects in my lab are based on our recent discovery of Gamma Secretase Activating Protein (GSAP), which is responsible for stimulating the production of beta amyloid. We believe that GSAP will make an excellent target for drugs to treat the disease. That’s because drugs that utilize GSAP are expected to lower beta amyloid levels without inhibiting other processes necessary for health. Several of our promising Alzheimer’s projects are described in these personal interviews. It is my pleasure to introduce you to four Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research scientists Dr. Marc Flajolet, Dr. Karima Bettayeb, Dr. Jean-Pierre Roussarie, and Dr. Victor Bustos.”
Dr. Paul Greengard is the Vincent Astor Professor, Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience and Director of The Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research at The Rockefeller University. Dr. Greengard received his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University. Over the years, Dr. Greengard’s achievements have earned over 50 major achievement awards. In 2000, Dr. Greengard was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his contributions to elucidating how neurotransmitters work in signal transduction in the nervous system. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. He is an Honorary Member of the National Academies of Science in Sweden, Norway and Serbia and has been the recipient of many honorary degrees.
Dr. Greengard’s life work has been recognized around the world. He received the Karolinska Institutet’s Bicentennial Gold Medal on September 23, 2010 for his contributions to medical research and his leadership. This medal was the highest award conferred by Karolinska Institutet during its 200th anniversary celebrations. Since 1901, the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet has selected the Nobel laureates in Physiology or Medicine. “Dr. Greengard is one of the most prominent scientists of this century,” said Harriet Wallberg- Henriksson, President of Karolinska Institutet.
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