NYU Winthrop Hospital doctors' quest to find Alzheimer's cure gets boost with plans to re-engineer human cells
The project spearheaded by Dr. Allison Reiss and intends to recreate brain behavior by reengineering human cells that will be collected through voluntary blood tests. The cells will behave like neurons aiding the research.
The NYU Winthrop Hospital may become the reason why more than 5 million people with Alzheimer's finally find a cure - through a new innovative approach. The hospital has been granted $100,000 by The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) for a research project aimed at uncovering the underlying causes of Alzheimer’s disease and developing new treatments.
"Trying to find effective treatments to treat Alzheimer’s has been like a drought in the desert,” Allison Reiss, M.D., Head of the Inflammation Section at NYU Winthrop Hospital’s Research Institute, told MEA World Wide. “We now have a promising new approach that may aid our research efforts toward advancements in treatments to slow and stop this debilitating disease.”
Research shows that approximately 44 million people suffer from the disease around the world and it is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S. killing more people than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. Out of the 5.5 million that suffer from this brain disease, 400,000 are in the New York State and 50,000 in Long Islander. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of Americans with Alzheimer's will triple by the year 2060.
“Every one of those families are hoping that a treatment for Alzheimer's will be found. The grant AFA is awarding to NYU Winthrop Hospital is an investment in hope. We are excited about this research project's potential to increase understanding of the causes of Alzheimer’s and, hopefully, lead to a treatment for this terrible disease," said AFA President & CEO Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr.
The project that is spearheaded by Dr. Reiss and her team plans to recreate brain behavior by reengineering human cells that will be collected through voluntary blood tests. The cells will behave like neurons aiding the research. Since brain tissue is only available when a person is dead, the project has the potential to find answers that families have been waiting for. "By recreating neural activity that actually occurs in the brain, the discoveries and improvements we hope to make with Alzheimer’s treatment are more likely to be replicated in actual patients suffering from the disease," she said.
To reach this point of cutting edge research, the team has been working for the past five years, NYU Winthrop says. A portion of that research was also funded by an AFA grant.
Dr. Reiss said most of the clinical trials for the disease were conducted on mice or using spinal fluid, failing to recreate the neuron activity in the brain. The project includes Dr. Josh DeLeon, Director of Cardiovascular Research at NYU Winthrop Hospital and associate professor of Medicine at NYU Long Island School of Medicine; Dr. Irving Gomolin, Chief of Geriatric Medicine and Clinical Professor, Department of Medicine; Dr. Aaron Pinkhasov, Chair of Behavioral Health at NYU Winthrop and Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry; and Dr. Lora J. Kasselman, Assistant Professor at NYU Long Island School of Medicine.