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Brain Foundation grant to probe the mystery of Alzheimer’s

CERA’s Dr. Damian Hernandez and Co-Investigator Associate Professor Alice Pébay have received a grant from the Brain Foundation to further their ground-breaking work into stem cells. The grant is part of the Foundation’s 2017 research awards.

“Despite enormous research efforts Alzheimer’s disease is still poorly understood, so our research project will look at using a person’s stem cells to model the disease,” Dr. Hernandez said.

Stem cell technology has advanced to the point where adult tissues can now be induced to become ‘pluripotent’, giving them the capacity to become any cell type in the body including brain cells.

“We will then use the latest gene editing technology -CRISPR- to modify a special form of a protein APOE that is linked to a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s,” Dr. Hernandez said.

The development of a human model of Alzheimer’s disease could be key to the generation of novel therapies for dementia.

“Our model will help researchers better understand Alzheimer’s disease and be a tool for new drug development,” Dr Hernandez said.

“This award will allow me to focus on what I believe is one of the keys to understanding Alzheimer’s,” he added.

President of the Brain Foundation, Professor Matthew Kiernan, said over 150 applications were received for this year’s awards.

“The standard was exceptional, and the only disappointment being that we could not fund them all”, said Professor Kiernan.


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