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2013 Grants - Mirica
Bifunctional Chemical Agents as Theranostic Tools for Abeta Aggregation
Liviu M. Mirica, Ph.D.
Washington University in St. Louis
St. Louis, Missouri
2013 New Investigator Research Grant
Beta-amyloid (also known as Abeta) is a protein fragment that clumps into amyloid plaques, one of the characteristic features of Alzheimer's disease. Beta-amyloid also forms smaller clumps known as oligomers, which are now believed to be the form of beta-amyloid that is most toxic to nerve cells. Some evidence suggests that beta-amyloid oligomers are stabilized by certain metal compounds, making the oligomers more toxic.
Liviu M. Mirica, Ph.D., and colleagues have proposed a series of studies with the goal of developing a single drug that performs two functions: (1) binds to beta-amyloid thereby reducing its ability to form clumps, and (2) binds to metals to reduce their ability to increase the toxicity of beta-amyloid.
Dr. Mirica and colleagues also believe that such a drug, because it binds beta-amyloid and metals at the same time, could be used to visualize beta-amyloid in the brain using existing imaging techniques. These studies could lead to the development of new ways to diagnose Alzheimer's disease, as well as potential new ways to slow or prevent disease progression.