Novel Targets for Neurodegenerative Diseases


Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common neurodegenerative disorder, and is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. Postmortem studies on AD brains show marked reduction in brain volume and cell number. Despite tremendous progress made toward the understanding of the pathogenesis of AD, the mechanisms underlying neuronal loss are still unknown. Developing new diagnostic tests and innovative therapeutics for slowing or preventing the progression of AD continues to be an important public health goal.

Prof. Salvatore Oddo at the Biodesign Institute of Arizona State University has described a previously unidentified mechanism of cell loss in AD. This discovery has led to the identification of novel targets and markers associated with neuronal loss in neurodegenerative diseases. The levels of these markers are increased in human AD brains compared to age-matched controls, and were positively correlated with brain weight and inversely correlated with cognitive score. An inhibitor of one of the markers was found to reduce the Aβ-induced loss of primary hippocampal neurons. Further the novel targets may be used to develop new therapeutics for preventing neuronal loss in Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders.

This discovery may spur a new area of research in the AD and neurodegenerative disease field focused on developing new therapeutic strategies to block the activation of these targets.

Potential Applications

•       Therapeutic targets for diseases having neuronal loss including but not limited to:

o       Alzheimer’s disease

o       Huntington’s disease

o       Parkinson’s disease

o       Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

o       Cerebral ischemia

o       Multiple sclerosis

o       Lewy body disease

o       Menke’s disease

o       Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

o       Muscular dystrophies, and more

Benefits and Advantages

•       This target, which underlies the mechanism for neuronal loss, has previously not been associated with AD

•       Can be used for developing new therapeutic strategies for AD and other diseases characterized by neuronal loss

For more information about the inventor(s) and their research, please see
Dr. Oddo’s directory webpage

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Salvatore Oddo

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