Roberta Diaz Brinton, PhD, director of the Center for Innovation in Brain Science at the University of Arizona Health Sciences, received a $450,000 grant to advance her groundbreaking clinical development of the first regenerative therapeutic for Alzheimer’s disease.
The funding from the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) will advance Dr. Brinton’s work on neurogenesis, the process of growing new signaling cells, known as neurons, in Alzheimer’s patients.
In Alzheimer’s disease, patients lose a significant number of neurons in specific regions of the brain. With more than a decade of ADDF funding, Dr. Brinton, who specializes in the bioenergetic and regenerative systems of the brain, discovered that allopregnanolone, a steroid found in the brain, stimulates the reproduction of stem cells. Stem cells regularly divide to repair and replace worn out or damaged tissue.
In preclinical studies, Dr. Brinton demonstrated that allopregnanolone promotes neurogenesis, restores cognitive function and reduces Alzheimer’s pathology in the brain. A recent clinical trial is generating encouraging results in a small group of volunteers and now Dr. Brinton will conduct a larger clinical trial to evaluate the biological effect of allopregnanolone dosing. The new funding supports the manufacture of allopregnanolone for Dr. Brinton’s clinical trial.