Researchers from Fraunhofer IZI in Halle (Saale) receive funding from the American Alzheimer‘s Association for developing a new model for treatment of Alzheimer's

4.2.2016

Dr. Holger Cynis, head of the Molecular Biotechnology Unit, Department of Drug Design and Target Validation at Fraunhofer IZI, and his team have received one of the desired 2-year funding allowances in the sum of $100,000 from the American Alzheimer’s Association. The funds have been awarded as part of a "New Investigator Research Grant" for researching newer models for treatment of Alzheimer's. According to the selection process for filing innovative projects, one of a maximum of 15 funded projects across the globe now goes to Halle (Saale).

Alzheimer's Disease is an incurable, progressive neurological brain condition, which leads to loss of memory and speech, amongst other things. It has been estimated that around 35 million people in the world are affected by Alzheimer's, 1.2 million of whom are in Germany. Memory loss is mainly caused by deposits of toxic proteins in the patient's brain. However, the exact causes which lead to the emergence of the condition are still relatively unknown. So far, approved treatments have only been able to slow down the progression of the condition.

Amongst other things, the development of new treatments has been delayed by a gap between successful medication tests in vitro, and a subsequent lack of effectiveness for patients. There is subsequently an urgent need for new model systems in order to better characterize innovative treatments. This is where the funding from the Alzheimer's Association comes in. It supports the characterization of new humanized mouse models. In this instance, genes from mice which were relevant to Alzheimer's disease were replaced by their respective human equivalents. These models should now be tested for similarities with human pathology, in order to be able to meet proposals for applicability in the development of medication.

The Department of Drug Design and Target Validation in Halle (Saale) develops new molecular strategies for the treatment of neurodegenerative and inflammatory diseases. The branch employees have a very wide level of expertise in industrial pharmacological research. This mainly involves the identification of new agent targets through the analysis of possible pathological, post-translational modifications, misfolding of proteins and their pathological aggregations. Moreover, the branch possesses a diverse spectrum of biophysical methods for the characterization of therapeutically relevant metabolic pathways, their key proteins and cell-based and pharmacological models for characterizing new kinds of chemical and biological agents.

Further contacts

Dr. Holger Cynis
Phone +49 345 131428-00
holger.cynis@izi.fraunhofer.de