The University of North Texas Health Science Center will host one of the largest Alzheimer’s disease research studies to date.
Researchers received a planned grant totaling $ 45 million from the National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health, to expand groundbreaking research on Alzheimer’s disease and the biological differences that cause the disease to plague disproportionately. the Mexican Americans.
The five-year fellowship, awarded to Sid O’Bryant, PhD, Professor and Executive Director of the Institute for Translational Research, and Leigh Johnson, PhD, Associate Professor and Associate Director, will help seek to understand the biological picture of Alzheimer’s in multi-ethnic populations and how it differs from that of non-Latin whites.
Mexican Americans develop Alzheimer’s disease 10 years earlier than whites. However, most Alzheimer’s research focuses on non-Latin whites.
“We’re going to see how Alzheimer’s disease pathology in the brain, the underlying underlying brain changes, what they look like, how they progress and how they affect people from different communities,” said Dr. O’Bryant.
The HSC will create a state-of-the-art imaging center that will allow researchers to perform two PET scans on each participant.
They will look for beta-amyloid or tau proteins, which are biomarkers for Alzheimer’s.
Two years later, each participant will undergo two more PET scans to compare protein progress.
The scans will allow researchers to observe the differences between Mexican Americans and non-Latin whites. Preliminary data suggests that beta-amyloid protein differs significantly in prevalence between the two ethnicities, Dr. O’Bryant said.
Mexican Americans represent the fastest aging population in the country. It is estimated that 1 million Mexican Americans will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease by 2030.
“The focus of this study is to develop precision medicine for the treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease in all communities. It’s not about treating this group or any other group, but we can’t understand the disease if we can’t understand it. in all, ”O’Bryant said.
“My goal is within 10 years, we have new therapies on board. I realize it is ambitious, but we push and push hard. I think we will change patient care within 10 years,” added O’Bryant.
For more information on the study, contact the Institute for Translational Research at 817-735-2963.