Collaborative Effort Among Alzheimer's Researchers To "Mine" Brain Cells

  • Researchers worldwide are becoming more open to collaborating in their efforts to discover what causes Alzheimer’s disease as well as methods to prevent or cure AD. It’s heartening to see this trend toward global collaboration since sharing information is likely to speed progress.


    The most recently publicized collaboration is between the University of Southampton which is a leading biomedical and clinical research institution located in the U.K. and Morgantown, Virginia based Protea Bioscience Inc.


    Protea’s proprietary direct molecular imaging technology, known as LAESI, will be used to study the molecular mechanisms of the older brain. The researchers want to identify markers that may indicate a person's risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

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    Scientists know that the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease processes occur at the molecular level within brain cells. Now, this revolutionary LAESI technology will be used to mine Alzheimer’s brain cells so that large numbers of molecules can be observed at one time. Researchers consider this method to be an important new step in possibly opening the door to understanding and treating Alzheimer’s.


    According to a press release from Protea Bioscience referencing this study, Roxana Carare M.D., Ph.D. will lead the Carare Research Group at the University of Southampton, U.K. Matthew Powell Ph.D. and Greg Kilby Ph.D. of Protea Biosciences will serve as the principal investigators for this collaboration on the U.S. side.


    Dr. Carare said of the collaboration using LAESI, “We are delighted that the novel molecular techniques from Protea Biosciences will be applied to brain tissue. We anticipate that novel biomarkers for the early detection of Alzheimer’s disease or markers that identify the risk factors for developing Alzheimer’s disease will be discovered and make significant progress in the field of biomedical research.”


    The press release states that the team will gather molecular information that is continuously produced by all living cells and life forms in order to sustain life. Individual cells continuously produce many thousands of different molecules, and changes in the molecular production of cells can be the basis of wellness and disease.


    Steve Turner, Protea’s Chief Executive Officer says, "It has been a strategic goal of Protea to apply our direct molecular imaging technology and expertise to the field of neurodegenerative disease and we are pleased to be doing so with the University of Southampton.”


    Alzheimer’s a global concern

    The World Alzheimer Report released for World Alzheimer’s Day 2013 by Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) predicts the number of dependent elders around the world will rise from 101 million in 2010 to 277 million in 2050, nearly half of whom will be living with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia.


    The question for this collaborative study is whether or not the mining of brain cells will be able to determine the root cause of Alzheimer’s and eventually lead to a cure, thus significantly cutting the number of dependent elders.


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    While it’s far too early to tell if this one collaboration will result in tremendous gains, each step in this race to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease makes a difference. The fact that international collaboration is not just a dream but is happening gives me hope that we are moving closer to some real answers to the Alzheimer’s dilemma.


    Related story: BRAIN Initiative Embraces More Than Alzheimer’s Disease


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    Protea Bioscineces, Inc. (2014, May 30) New Research Collaboration Will “Mine” Alzheimer’s Brain Cells for Molecular Information. Retrieved from


Published On: June 02, 2014