action error Research | Alzheimer Mullan Research Notes

Error message

  • Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /home1/mullanal/public_html/mullanalzheimerinfo/sites/sites.php:1) in include() (line 2 of /home1/mullanal/public_html/mullanalzheimerinfo/sites/sites.php).
  • Notice: Undefined index: action in include() (line 3 of /home1/mullanal/public_html/mullanalzheimerinfo/sites/sites.php).
  • Notice: Undefined index: password in include() (line 4 of /home1/mullanal/public_html/mullanalzheimerinfo/sites/sites.php).
  • Notice: Undefined index: pathname in include() (line 5 of /home1/mullanal/public_html/mullanalzheimerinfo/sites/sites.php).
  • Notice: Undefined index: keywordindex in include() (line 6 of /home1/mullanal/public_html/mullanalzheimerinfo/sites/sites.php).
  • Notice: Undefined index: filename in include() (line 7 of /home1/mullanal/public_html/mullanalzheimerinfo/sites/sites.php).
  • Notice: Undefined index: body in include() (line 8 of /home1/mullanal/public_html/mullanalzheimerinfo/sites/sites.php).
  • Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /home1/mullanal/public_html/mullanalzheimerinfo/sites/sites.php:1) in drupal_send_headers() (line 1243 of /home1/mullanal/public_html/mullanalzheimerinfo/includes/bootstrap.inc).
  • Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /home1/mullanal/public_html/mullanalzheimerinfo/sites/sites.php:1) in drupal_send_headers() (line 1243 of /home1/mullanal/public_html/mullanalzheimerinfo/includes/bootstrap.inc).
  • Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /home1/mullanal/public_html/mullanalzheimerinfo/sites/sites.php:1) in drupal_send_headers() (line 1243 of /home1/mullanal/public_html/mullanalzheimerinfo/includes/bootstrap.inc).
  • Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /home1/mullanal/public_html/mullanalzheimerinfo/sites/sites.php:1) in drupal_send_headers() (line 1243 of /home1/mullanal/public_html/mullanalzheimerinfo/includes/bootstrap.inc).
  • Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /home1/mullanal/public_html/mullanalzheimerinfo/sites/sites.php:1) in drupal_send_headers() (line 1243 of /home1/mullanal/public_html/mullanalzheimerinfo/includes/bootstrap.inc).
  • Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /home1/mullanal/public_html/mullanalzheimerinfo/sites/sites.php:1) in drupal_send_headers() (line 1243 of /home1/mullanal/public_html/mullanalzheimerinfo/includes/bootstrap.inc).

Research

Anti-Tumoral Activity of a Short Decapeptide Fragment of the Alzheimer's Abeta Peptide.

The inhibition of angiogenesis is regarded as a promising avenue for cancer treatment. Although some antiangiogenic compounds are in the process of development and testing, these often prove ineffective in vivo, therefore the search for new inhibitors is critical. We have recently identified a ten amino acid fragment of the Alzheimer Abeta peptide that is anti-angiogenic both in vitro and in vivo. In the present study, we investigated the antitumoral potential of this decapeptide using human MCF-7 breast carcinoma xenografts nude mice. We observed that this decapeptide was able to suppress MCF-7 tumor growth more potently than the antiestrogen tamoxifen. Inhibition of tumor vascularization as determined by PECAM-1 immunostaining and decreased tumor cell proliferation as determined by Ki67 immunostaining were observed following treatment with the Abeta fragment. In vitro, this peptide had no direct impact on MCF-7 tumor cell proliferation and survival suggesting that the inhibition of tumor growth and tumor cell proliferation observed in vivo is related to the antiangiogenic activity of the peptide. Taken together these data suggest that this short Abeta derivative peptide may constitute a new antitumoral agent.

or more information on the Roskamp Institute and Alzheimer’s please visit:

http://www.mullanalzheimer.com

http://www.mullanalzheimer.info

http://www.michaelmullan.us

www.rfdn.org

Impaired orthotopic glioma growth and vascularization in transgenic mouse models of Alzheimer's disease.

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia among the aging population and is characterized pathologically by the progressive intracerebral accumulation of beta-amyloid (Abeta) peptides and neurofibrillary tangles. The level of proangiogenic growth factors and inflammatory mediators with proangiogenic activity is known to be elevated in AD brains which has led to the supposition that the cerebrovasculature of AD patients is in a proangiogenic state. However, angiogenesis depends on the balance between proangiogenic and antiangiogenic factors and the brains of AD patients also show an accumulation of endostatin and Abeta peptides which have been shown to be antiangiogenic. To determine whether angiogenesis is compromised in the brains of two transgenic mouse models of AD overproducing Abeta peptides (Tg APPsw and Tg PS1/APPsw mice), we assessed the growth and vascularization of orthotopically implanted murine gliomas since they require a high degree of angiogenesis to sustain their growth. Our data reveal that intracranial tumor growth and angiogenesis is significantly reduced in Tg APPsw and Tg PS1/APPsw mice compared with their wild-type littermates. In addition, we show that Abeta inhibits the angiogenesis stimulated by glioma cells when cocultured with human brain microvascular cells on a Matrigel layer. Altogether our data suggest that the brain of transgenic mouse models of AD does not constitute a favorable environment to support neoangiogenesis and may explain why vascular insults synergistically precipitate the cognitive presentation of AD.

or more information on the Roskamp Institute and Alzheimer’s please visit:

http://www.mullanalzheimer.com

http://www.mullanalzheimer.info

http://www.michaelmullan.us

www.rfdn.org

Characterization and use of human brain microvascular endothelial cells to examine β-amyloid exchange in the blood-brain barrier. Bachmeier C, Mullan M, Paris D.

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterized by excessive cerebrovascular deposition of the β-amyloid peptide (Aβ). The investigation of Aβ transport across the blood-brain barrier (BBB) has been hindered by inherent limitations in the cellular systems currently used to model the BBB, such as insufficient barrier properties and poor reproducibility. In addition, many of the existing models are not of human or brain origin and are often arduous to establish and maintain. Thus, we characterized an in vitro model of the BBB employing human brain microvascular endothelial cells (HBMEC) and evaluated its utility to investigate Aβ exchange at the blood-brain interface. Our HBMEC model offers an ease of culture compared with primary isolated or coculture BBB models and is more representative of the human brain endothelium than many of the cell lines currently used to study the BBB. In our studies, the HBMEC model exhibited barrier properties comparable to existing BBB models as evidenced by the restricted permeability of a known paracellular marker. In addition, using a simple and rapid fluormetric assay, we showed that antagonism of key Aβ transport proteins significantly altered the bi-directional transcytosis of fluorescein-Aβ (1-42) across the HBMEC model. Moreover, the magnitude of these effects was consistent with reports in the literature using the same ligands in existing in vitro models of the BBB. These studies establish the HBMEC as a representative in vitro model of the BBB and offer a rapid fluorometric method of assessing Aβ exchange between the periphery and the brain.

or more information on the Roskamp Institute and Alzheimer’s please visit:

http://www.mullanalzheimer.com

http://www.mullanalzheimer.info

http://www.michaelmullan.us

www.rfdn.org

Depletion of CXCR2 inhibits γ-secretase activity and amyloid-β production in a murine model of Alzheimer's disease.

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disorder that leads to progressive cognitive decline. Recent studies from our group and others have suggested that certain G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) can influence the processing of the amyloid precursor protein (APP). Earlier, we demonstrated that stimulation of a chemokine receptor, CXCR2, results in enhanced γ-secretase activity and in increased amyloid-beta (Aβ) production. Taken together, results obtained from in vitro studies indicate that therapeutic targeting of CXCR2 might aid in lowering Aβ levels in the AD brain. To better understand the precise function and to predict the consequences of CXCR2 depletion in the AD brain, we have crossed CXCR2 knockout mice with mice expressing presenilin (PS1 M146L) and APPsw mutations (PSAPP). Our present study confirms that CXCR2 depletion results in reduction of Aβ with concurrent increases of γ-secretase substrates. At the mechanistic level, the effect of CXCR2 on γ-secretase was not found to occur via their direct interaction. Furthermore, we provide evidence that Aβ promotes endocytosis of CXCR2 via increasing levels of CXCR2 ligands. In conclusion, our current study confirms the regulatory role of CXCR2 in APP processing, and poses it as a potential target for developing novel therapeutics for intervention in AD.

For more information on the Roskamp Institute and Alzheimer’s please visit:

http://www.mullanalzheimer.com

http://www.mullanalzheimer.info

http://www.michaelmullan.us

www.rfdn.org

Selective antihypertensive dihydropyridines lower Aβ accumulation by targeting both the production and the clearance of Aβ across the blood-brain barrier.

Several large population-based or clinical trial studies have suggested that certain dihydropyridine (DHP) L-type calcium channel blockers (CCBs) used for the treatment of hypertension may confer protection against the development of Alzheimer disease (AD). However, other studies with drugs of the same class have shown no beneficial clinical effects. To determine whether certain DHPs are able to impact underlying disease processes in AD (specifically the accumulation of the Alzheimer Aβ peptide), we investigated the effect of several antihypertensive DHPs and non-DHP CCBs on Aβ production. Among the antihypertensive DHPs tested, a few, including nilvadipine, nitrendipine and amlodipine inhibited Aβ production in vitro, whereas others had no effect or raised Aβ levels. In vivo, nilvadipine and nitrendipine acutely reduced brain Aβ levels in a transgenic mouse model of AD (Tg PS1/APPsw) and improved Aβ clearance across the blood-brain barrier (BBB), whereas amlodipine and nifedipine were ineffective showing that the Aβ-lowering activity of the DHPs is independent of their antihypertensive activity. Chronic oral treatment with nilvadipine decreased Aβ burden in the brains of Tg APPsw (Tg2576) and Tg PS1/APPsw mice, and also improved learning abilities and spatial memory. Our data suggest that the clinical benefit conferred by certain antihypertensive DHPs against AD is unrelated to their antihypertensive activity, but rely on their ability to lower brain Aβ accumulation by affecting both Aβ production and Aβ clearance across the BBB.

or more information on the Roskamp Institute and Alzheimer’s please visit:

http://www.mullanalzheimer.com

http://www.mullanalzheimer.info

http://www.michaelmullan.us

www.rfdn.org

Induction of drug efflux protein expression by venlafaxine but not desvenlafaxine.

Venlafaxine and its metabolite desvenlafaxine are serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors currently prescribed for the treatment of depression. Previously, it was reported that venlafaxine is an inducer of MDR1, the gene responsible for P-glycoprotein (P-gp). The present study expanded upon these findings by examining the effect of venlafaxine and desvenlafaxine on the expression of both P-gp and the breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP) in human brain endothelial cells (HBMEC), an in vitro model of the blood-brain barrier (BBB). The HBMEC were treated for 1 h with various concentrations (500 nM to 50 µM) of venlafaxine and desvenlafaxine. Western blot analysis revealed treatment with venlafaxine significantly induced the expression of P-gp (2-fold) and BCRP (1.75-fold) in a dose-dependent manner, while treatment with desvenlafaxine had no effect on drug efflux transporter expression. To determine the functional significance of this effect, the permeability of a known drug efflux probe, rhodamine 123, across the BBB model and Caco-2 cells, a model of intestinal absorption, were examined. Treatment with venlafaxine (1-50 µM) for 1 h significantly reduced the apical-to-basolateral permeability of R123 across the BBB model (30%) and Caco-2 cell monolayers (25%), indicative of increased drug efflux transporter expression at the apical membrane. Conversely, desvenlafaxine had no effect on R123 permeability in either cellular model. These studies indicate that venlafaxine, but not desvenlafaxine is an inducer of drug efflux transporter expression, which consequently increases the potential for clinical drug-drug interactions. Therefore, based on these preliminary results, caution should be taken when prescribing venlafaxine with other P-gp substrates.

for more information on the Roskamp Institute and Alzheimer’s please visit:

http://www.mullanalzheimer.com

http://www.mullanalzheimer.info

http://www.michaelmullan.us

www.rfdn.org

Selective dihydropyiridine compounds facilitate the clearance of β-amyloid across the blood-brain barrier.

Increasing evidence suggests that the soluble form of the β-amyloid peptide (Aβ) plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease. Previously, we reported that treatment with certain antihypertensive dihydropyridine (DHP) compounds can mitigate Aβ production in whole cells and reduce brain Aβ burden in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. As Aβ clearance across the blood-brain barrier (BBB) is a key regulatory step in the deposition of Aβ in the brain, we examined the effect of DHP treatment on Aβ brain clearance. Treatment with certain DHP compounds significantly increased Aβ(1-42) transcytosis across the BBB in an in vitro model. The rank order of these compounds was nitrendipine>nicardipine=cilnidipine=lercanidipine>nimodipine>azelnidipine=nilvadipine. Conversely, amlodipine, felodipine, isradipine, and nifedipine had no effect on Aβ(1-42) BBB transcytosis. In an in vivo paradigm of Aβ clearance across the BBB, peripheral administration of nitrendipine, cilnidipine, and nilvadipine to wild-type animals facilitated the brain clearance of centrally administered exogenous Aβ(1-42), whereas with amlodipine, there was no effect. We also observed improved cognitive function in mice treated with nilvadipine following central Aβ(1-42) insult. Thus, in addition to the effect of certain DHP compounds on Aβ production, we demonstrate that certain DHP compounds also facilitate the clearance of Aβ across the BBB. This dual mechanism of action may be particularly effective in attenuating Aβ brain burden in Alzheimer's disease and could open the door to a new class of therapies for the treatment of this disease.

for more information on the Roskamp Institute and Alzheimer’s please visit:

http://www.mullanalzheimer.com

http://www.mullanalzheimer.info

http://www.michaelmullan.us

www.rfdn.org

Feasibility of Predicting MCI/AD Using Neuropsychological Tests and Serum β-Amyloid.

We examined the usefulness of brief neuropsychological tests and serum Aβ as a predictive test for detecting MCI/AD in older adults. Serum Aβ levels were measured from 208 subjects who were cognitively normal at enrollment and blood draw. Twenty-eight of the subjects subsequently developed MCI (n = 18) or AD (n = 10) over the follow-up period. Baseline measures of global cognition, memory, language fluency, and serum Aβ(1-42) and the ratio of serum Aβ(1-42)/Aβ(1-40) were significant predictors for future MCI/AD using Cox regression with demographic variables, APOE ε4, vascular risk factors, and specific medication as covariates. An optimal sensitivity of 85.2% and specificity of 86.5% for predicting MCI/AD was achieved using ROC analyses. Brief neuropsychological tests and measurements of Aβ(1-42) obtained via blood warrants further study as a practical and cost effective method for wide-scale screening for identifying older adults who may be at-risk for pathological cognitive decline.

for more information on the Roskamp Institute and Alzheimer’s please visit:

http://www.mullanalzheimer.com

http://www.mullanalzheimer.info

http://www.michaelmullan.us

www.rfdn.org

Flavonoids lower Alzheimer's Aβ production via an NFκB dependent mechanism.

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is characterized by the brain accumulation of Aβ peptides and by the presence of neurofibrillary tangles. Aβ is believed to play an important role in AD and it has been shown that certain flavonoids can affect Aβ production. Recently, it was suggested that the Aβ lowering properties of flavonoids are mediated by a direct inhibition the β-secretase (BACE-1) activity, the rate limiting enzyme responsible for the production of Aβ peptides. Westernblots and ELISAs were employed to monitor the impact of flavonoids on amyloid precursor protein processing and Aβ production. A cell free chemoluminescent assay using human recombinant BACE-1 was used to assess the effect of flavonoids on BACE-1 activity. The effect of flavonoids on NFκB activation was determined by using a stable NFκB luciferase reporter cell line. Molecular docking simulations were performed to predict the binding of flavonoids to the BACE-1 catalytic site. Real time quantitative PCR was used to determine the effect of flavonoids on BACE-1 transcription. We show in a cell free assay that flavonoids are only weak inhibitors of BACE-1 activity. Docking simulation studies with different BACE-1 structures also suggest that flavonoids are poor BACE-1 inhibitors as they appear to adopt various docking poses in the active site pocket and have weak docking scores that differ as a function of the BACE-1 structures studied. Moreover, a weak correlation was observed between the effect of flavonoids on Aβ production in vitro and their ability to lower BACE-1 activity suggesting that the Aβ lowering properties of flavonoids in whole cells are not mediated via direct inhibition of BACE-1 activity. We found however a strong correlation between the inhibition of NFκB activation by flavonoids and their Aβ lowering properties suggesting that flavonoids inhibit Aβ production in whole cells via NFκB related mechanisms. As NFκB has been shown to regulate BACE-1 expression, we show that NFκB lowering flavonoids inhibit BACE-1 transcription in human neuronal SH-SY5Y cells. Altogether, our data suggest that flavonoids inhibit Aβ and sAPPβ production by regulating BACE-1 expression and not by directly inhibiting BACE-1 activity.

for more information on the Roskamp Institute and Alzheimer’s please visit:

http://www.mullanalzheimer.com

http://www.mullanalzheimer.info

http://www.michaelmullan.us

www.rfdn.org

Identification of Plasma Biomarkers of TBI Outcome Using Proteomic Approaches in an APOE Mouse Model.

Abstract The current lack of diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers for traumatic brain injury (TBI) confounds treatment and management of patients and is of increasing concern as the TBI population grows. We have generated plasma proteomic profiles from mice receiving TBI by controlled cortical impact at either 1.3 mm or 1.8 mm depth, comparing these against those of sham injured-animals to identify plasma biomarkers specific to mild or severe TBI at 24 hours, 1 month, or 3 months post-injury. To identify possible prognostic biomarkers, we used apolipoprotein E (APOE)3 and APOE4 transgenic mice, which demonstrate relatively favorable and unfavorable outcomes respectively, following TBI. Using a quantitative proteomics approach (isobaric tagging for relative and absolute quantitation - iTRAQ) we have identified proteins that are significantly modulated as a function of TBI and also in response to the TBI*APOE genotype interaction, the latter representing potential prognostic biomarkers. These preliminary data clearly demonstrate plasma protein changes that are not only injury dependent but also interaction dependent. Importantly, these results demonstrate the presence of TBI-dependent and interaction-dependent plasma proteins at a 3-month time point, which is a considerable time post-injury in the mouse model, and will potentially be of significance for combat veterans receiving assessment at extended periods post-injury. Furthermore, our identification of clusters of functionally related proteins indicates disturbance of particular biological modules, which potentially increases their value beyond that of solitary biomarkers.

for more information on the Roskamp Institute and Alzheimer’s please visit:

http://www.mullanalzheimer.com

http://www.mullanalzheimer.info

http://www.michaelmullan.us

www.rfdn.org

Anatabine lowers Alzheimer's Aβ production in vitro and in vivo

Brain Aβ accumulation represents a key pathological hallmark in Alzheimer’s disease. In this study, we investigated the impact of anatabine, a minor alkaloid present in plants of the Solanacea family on Aβ production in vitro using a cell line overexpressing the human amyloid precursor protein (APP) and in vivo using a transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. In vitro, anatabine lowers Aβ₁₋₄₀ and Aβ₁₋₄₂ levels in a dose dependent manner and reduces sAPPβ production without impacting sAPPα levels suggesting that anatabine lowers Aβ production by mainly impacting the β-cleavage of APP. Additionally, we show that anatabine lowers NFκB activation at doses that inhibit Aβ production in vitro. Since NFκB is known to regulate BACE-1 expression (the rate limiting enzyme responsible for Aβ production), we determined the impact of anatabine on BACE-1 transcription. We show that anatabine inhibits BACE-1 transcription and reduces BACE-1 protein levels in human neuronal like SHSY-5Y cells suggesting that the Aβ lowering properties of anatabine are mediated via a regulation of BACE-1 expression. In vivo, we show that an acute treatment with anatabine for four days significantly lowers brain soluble Aβ₁₋₄₀ and Aβ₁₋₄₂ levels in a transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. Altogether our data suggest that anatabine may represent an interesting compound for regulating brain Aβ accumulation.

for more information on the Roskamp Institute and Alzheimer’s please visit:

http://www.mullanalzheimer.com

http://www.mullanalzheimer.info

www.rfdn.org

Elevated CSF levels of TACE activity and soluble TNF receptors in subjects with mild cognitive impairment and patients with Alzheimer's disease.

Expression levels of tumor necrosis factor (TNF) receptors, TNFR1 and TNFR2, are significantly changed in the brains and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Moreover, we also found that, in an Alzheimer’s mouse model, genetic deletion of TNF receptor (TNFR1) reduces amyloid plaques and amyloid beta peptides (Aβ) production through β-secretase (BACE1) regulation. TNF-α converting enzyme (TACE/ADAM-17) does not only cleave pro- TNF-α but also TNF receptors, however, whether the TACE activity was changed in the CSF was not clear. In this study, we examined TACE in the CSF in 32 AD patients and 27 age-matched healthy controls (HCs). Interestingly, we found that TACE activity was significantly elevated in the CSF from AD patients compared with HCs. Furthermore, we also assayed the CSF levels of TACE cleaved soluble forms of TNFR1 and TNFR2 in the same patients. We found that AD patients had higher levels of both TACE cleaved soluble TNFR1 (sTNFR1) and TNFR2 (sTNFR2) in the CSF compared to age- and gender-matched healthy controls. Levels of sTNFR1 correlated strongly with the levels of sTNFR2 (rs = 0.567-0.663, p < 0.01). The levels of both sTNFR1 and sTNFR2 significantly correlated with the TACE activity (rs = 0.491-0.557, p < 0.05). To examine if changes in TACE activity and in levels of cleaved soluble TNFRs are an early event in the course of AD, we measured these molecules in the CSF from 47 subjects with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), which is considered as a preclinical stage of AD. Unexpectedly, we found significantly higher levels of TACE activity and soluble TNFRs in the MCI group than that in AD patients. These results suggest that TACE activity and soluble TNF receptors may be potential diagnostic candidate biomarkers in AD and MCI.

for more information on the Roskamp Institute and Alzheimer’s please visit:

http://www.mullanalzheimer.com

http://www.mullanalzheimer.info

www.rfdn.org

Genetic deletion of TNF receptor suppresses excitatory synaptic transmission via reducing AMPA receptor synaptic localization in cortical neurons.

The distribution of postsynaptic glutamate receptors has been shown to be regulated by proimmunocytokine tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) signaling. The role of TNF-α receptor subtypes in mediating glutamate receptor expression, trafficking, and function still remains unclear. Here, we report that TNF receptor subtypes (TNFR1 and TNFR2) differentially modulate α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionic acid receptor (AMPAR) clustering and function in cultured cortical neurons. We find that genetic deletion of TNFR1 decreases surface expression and synaptic localization of the AMPAR GluA1 subunit, reduces the frequency of miniature excitatory postsynaptic current (mEPSC), and reduces AMPA-induced maximal whole-cell current. In addition, these results are not observed in TNFR2-deleted neurons. The decreased AMPAR expression and function in TNFR1-deleted cells are not significantly restored by short (2 h) or long (24 h) term exposure to TNF-α. In TNFR2-deleted cells, TNF-α promotes AMPAR trafficking to the synapse and increases mEPSC frequency. In the present study, we find no significant change in the GluN1 subunit of NMDAR clusters, location, and mEPSC. This includes applying or withholding the TNF-α treatment in both TNFR1- and TNFR2-deleted neurons. Our results indicate that TNF receptor subtype 1 but not 2 plays a critical role in modulating AMPAR clustering, suggesting that targeting TNFR1 gene might be a novel approach to preventing neuronal AMPAR-mediated excitotoxicity.-He, P., Liu, Q., Wu, J., Shen, Y. Genetic deletion of TNF receptor suppresses excitatory synaptic transmission via reducing AMPA receptor synaptic localization in cortical neurons.

for more information on the Roskamp Institute and Alzheimer’s please visit:

http://www.mullanalzheimer.com

http://www.mullanalzheimer.info

www.rfdn.org

Institute targets in on Alzheimer's

May 7, 2007 - At St. James Hospital in Dublin, Ireland, a nurse is checking the blood pressure of a 62-year-old man. Later, a tech will use a hand-held scanner to measure blood flow in his middle cerebral artery.

The patient has never met Michael Mullan, nor Fiona Crawford. But some 4,150 miles away, they could hardly be happier about his test results.

They show that the man, whose identity is confidential, is showing no adverse reactions to a drug that might be a promising treatment for Alzheimer's disease.

That is good news for Mullan and Crawford. Directors of the Roskamp Institute, on Whitfield Avenue in southern Manatee County, they are running a clinical trial of Nilvadipine, a drug widely used abroad but not approved in the United States.

The drug is intended to lower blood pressure. But in studies on mice, Roskamp researchers found it also reduced the level of a protein in the brain believed to be at the heart of Alzheimer's.

The Ireland trial just completed its second phase, a safety study, and the 20 patients taking the drug showed almost no ill effects, paving the way for a broader study.

The clinical trial is the institute's highest-profile project, but its two dozen scientists also work in fields including drug addiction and head injury.

With even more promising treatments deep in its labs, the little nonprofit academic center is becoming more and more a biotechnology start-up.

Birth of the institute

The institute was born in 1997, but its origins date back another 40 years.

Bob Roskamp was a high school physics teacher. His older brother, diagnosed with schizophrenia, killed himself.

Roskamp tells the story with understatement: "Obviously, it catches your attention in a big way."

The loss of his brother prompted him to give up teaching and work on opening homes for developmentally disabled adults. He later moved into developing housing communities for seniors.

He began selling his companies -- including his Freedom Group to American Retirement Group for $23 million in cash and $14.9 million in stock -- leaving him with a question: "What do we do with these surplus dollars?"

The answer is in the logo of the institute bearing his name: "Curing Diseases of the Mind."

Roskamp and his wife, Diane, are among the pioneers of a style of philanthropy, now more widely followed, of carefully aiming resources at one target and tracking performance.

"Instead of spreading it thinly throughout the world, we would 'rifle-shot' it, and have a lot more fun with it," he said.

Roskamp historically has given the institute about one-third of its operating budget, the rest coming through grants and contracts.

But as federal money has been diverted elsewhere, and the institute's work has grown more complex, Roskamp has had to pick up more of the tab. He gave just over $1 million in 2005, but $4.6 million this year, he said.

His involvement began with funding a lab at the University of South Florida, then a teaching position eventually filled by Mullan.

In 2003, the institute left the university amid personnel and bureaucratic disputes and moved into the former Bausch & Lomb building in southern Manatee County. Roskamp said university overhead was too expensive, and that scientists can work faster in the independent setting.

"You bring your entrepreneurial hat to this kind of research," he said. "We're results-oriented people."

The scientists appreciate not having to wait for grants and approvals.

"We have the funding from Bob and Diane that allow us to move forward very quickly when we make a new discovery," Crawford said. "We are really free to focus on the research."

Paddling mice

Most Alzheimer's researchers now focus on a protein known as beta-amyloid that forms when a chemical process goes awry. The protein clumps together outside neurons, eventually killing those memory cells.

Mullan and Crawford were part of a team that in 1991 published papers establishing a link between a human gene, on chromosome 21, and early onset of the disease in patients in their 40s and 50s.

A year later, after they came to the United States, they published a paper looking at another genetic link to early-onset Alzheimer's.

The research made beta-amyloid a prime suspect in Alzheimer's, and stopping its buildup a potential cure.

Roskamp researchers look for existing drugs and new compounds with that effect. Nilvadipine showed enough promise to test it on lab mice engineered to have Alzheimer's.

At 10 months, with the disease in full bloom, some mice got the drug while others got a placebo. Later, they scanned the mice's brains for blood flow.

In the color-coded pictures, the brighter the image, the better the blood flow. The mice getting Nilvadipine scan largely red and orange.

The control animals scan mostly blue-green.

Mullan points to a chart with results of a more traditional test, tracking a mouse's effort to paddle its way out of a mouse-sized swimming pool.

The mice repeat the test, day after day. Normal mice figure it out and eventually swim a shorter route to the exit.

Mice with Alzheimer's disease never figure it out, actually taking longer and longer routes.

"But if you give them Nivaldipine, they go from here to here; they do better," Mullan said, pointing at the figures. "And if you give Nilvadipine to a normal mouse, they do best of all."

The drug appears to slow or stop the production of beta-amyloid, Mullan said.

As the brain grudgingly yields the mysteries of its architecture, Roskamp's scientists are exploring how those diseases of the mind may be related by more than just words.

'Blocking that burst'

In 2002 the institute teamed with the Department of Veterans Affairs to look at memory skills in people who had received traumatic brain injuries.

They found that people who had a gene linked to Alzheimer's disease recovered less memory function than those without it, even when they had comparable injuries and demographics.

Further research has shown that when the brain suffers such an injury, there is a burst of amyloid production. One theory is that the brain produces the protein as a defense mechanism, but it sometimes overreacts and makes matters worse.

"Blocking that burst appears to be at least one way to try and improve outcomes after head injury," said Crawford, lead author of the 2002 article.

Last year the Department of Defense approved a $1.5 million grant to the institute to expand that research. It is a particularly urgent matter for the military: Improved body armor is helping soldiers survive explosions -- but with little-understood head injuries.

"People can have brain injury even if they didn't suffer any loss of consciousness, weeks and months of being in the vicinity of an explosive attack," Crawford said.

For now, that grant is hung up in final reviews.

"We have yet to see dime one," Roskamp said -- but even that $1.5 million pales in comparison with the costs of the Nilvadipine study.

That cuts to the heart of the dilemma scientists face. They might get a moderately effective drug to market quickly, or try to discover the "silver bullet," which could take many years and exponentially more money.

Roskamp is preparing the foundation to do both.

Just a question of when

To Mullan, the question is not whether there will be treatments for Alzheimer's.

"It's the question of when we're going to get them there," he said.

It is a question of how effective they will be. Mullan cited three drugs far along in the pipeline, all targeted at reducing amyloid. "They're not going to be block-busting, perfect drugs by any means, but I think at least two of them will be approved for Alzheimer's this year."

Nilvadipine most likely would be like them -- useful but not the cure-all. But it offers some advantages.

Developing a new drug from scratch is a much worse bet, Mullan said. Count on 10 to 12 years for development, testing and approvals, with a high failure rate.

"Sometimes they fail spectacularly," he said, citing Vioxx, a promising drug with unforeseen and deadly side effects.

Nilvadipine, in use for more than a decade, already has a track record for safety. It could help patients while allowing the institute time to find the silver bullet.

By mid-year, the institute hopes to continue the Ireland trial with a double-blind study, meaning neither patients nor doctors know who gets Nilvadipine and who gets a placebo until they conclude. That study, which would involve about 200 people, could cost $20 million, Roskamp said.

Should the drug prove effective, Nilvadipine's manufacturer could profit -- but so would the institute. Because it holds rights to the drug's newly indicated use, the institute would receive royalty payments, Roskamp said.

The institute has set up a for-profit subsidiary, Roskamp Research LLC, which holds its patents. Roskamp structured it to allow outside backers to support studies, provide the subsidiary with a return on its investment, and guarantee most of the revenue goes to his institute.

"We don't want to give it to a pharma company, and say here, go make a lot of money off of it," Roskamp said.

Compounds back in the institute's labs could provide better returns -- and better treatments.

for more information on the Roskamp Institute please visit:

http://www.mullanalzheimer.com

http://www.mullanalzheimer.info

www.rfdn.org

The Roskamp Institute

The Roskamp Institute, a not-for-profit research Institute, is dedicated to finding cures for neuropsychiatric disorders, with the emphasis on Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Current research at the Roskamp Institute is focused on dissecting the molecular biological pathways implicated in AD pathogenesis in order to develop therapeutic targets specific to AD etiology. Dr. Michael Mullan (Director of the Roskamp Institute) and Fiona Crawford (Associate director of the Roskamp Institute) were part of the original team that discovered a genetic error called the “Swedish mutation” which results in overproduction of -amyloid (A) by aberrant proteolytic processing of the amyloid precursor protein (APP). This mutation now forms the bases of most mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. Previously, the Roskamp Institute published an article in a prestigious scientific journal, Nature, showing that A plays a normal role in vasoactive mechanisms but also plays a role in vascular abnormalities and neurodegeneration mediated by free radical. Subsequently, Dr. Daniel Paris, a senior scientist at the Roskamp Institute, discovered that the vasoactive effects of A are partly mediated via a pro-inflammatory pathway and showed that this effect of A on the vasculature can be blocked by inhibiting specific target molecules. In order to further understand the role of A in the vasculature, Dr. Paris investigated the long term effect of A on vascular homeostasis. He then discovered that at low doses, A promotes angiogenesis, while at high doses, certain forms of A peptides are anti-angiogenic. Collectively, these novel findings resulted in new therapeutic prospects for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease as well as Cancer.
Researchers at the Roskamp Institute also showed that the presence of functional CD40/CD40L signaling is essential for the full development of AD like pathology in transgenic mouse models of AD. In particular, it was demonstrated that accumulation of cerebral A is reduced in transgenic mouse models of AD by genetically or pharmacologically reducing the availability of CD40L to CD40. The Roskamp Institute investigators subsequently revealed that loss of functional CD40L diminishes both APP processing to A and microglial activation in the brain (Original findings published in journals Science and Nature Neuroscience). CD40L activated pathways in the presence of A appear to mediate both of these effects as well as the hyperphosphorylation of murine tau in vivo at epitopes analogous to those which precede tangle formation of human tau. More recently, Dr. Ghania Ait-Ghezala of the Roskamp Institute showed that CD40/CD40L interaction also affects APP via the NF-B pathway. Using NF-B inhibitors and SiRNAs to silence diverse elements of the NF-B pathway, she demonstrated that reduction in levels of both pathological forms of A. These results showed that CD40L stimulation may be a key component in AD pathology and that NF-B pathway may be suitable targets for therapeutic approaches against AD.
Another major focus of research at the Roskamp Institute includes Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Program headed by the Associate Director of the Roskamp Institute. Dr. Crawford and her Roskamp Institute team demonstrated an important relationship between apolipoprotein E (APOE) and memory following TBI. She demonstrated that in Veteran’s with TBI, memory performance was significantly worse in individuals who had at least one copy of APOE ε4 allele than those who did not. She had subsequently been funded through the Veteran’s Administration to further study the relationship between different forms of APOE in TBI with the emphasis on finding treatments for this devastating condition.
Drs. Michael Mullan and Fiona Crawford also received funding by the Counterdrug Technology Assessment Center (CTAC) to evaluate the newly emerged genomics and proteomics technology and find biological markers of substance abuse. Recently, Dr. Crawford’s team showed that cocaine treatment of human progenitor neuronal cells results in increased oxidative stress (possibly mediated by inflammatory responses) which precedes cell death. Thus, these findings may have implications for the consequences of cocaine abuse in situations where antioxidant capacity is compromised, as in the aging brain.
As evident here, the Roskamp Institute team has been a pioneer in many area of research in neuropsychiatric diseases and will continue to do so to find novel therapies for these disorders. Currently, a new clinical trial based on the discoveries made at the Roskamp Institute is underway to assess safety and efficacy of nilvadipine in treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Through the generous support of Diane and Robert Roskamp, the Veteran’s Administration, the National Institutes of Health, CTAC and the Department of Defense, the Roskamp Institute will continue to provide potential avenues for novel therapeutic interventions for neuropsychiatric disorders.

for more information on the Roskamp Institute please visit:
http://www.mullanalzheimer.com
http://www.mullanalzheimer.info
www.rfdn.org

Roskamp Institute on Gulf War Illness

The Roskamp Institute located in Sarasota, Florida is the leading research center in the area. The research focuses on neurological diseases that affect young and elderly men and women of this world. Some of the main focuses are Alzheimer's disease, addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), multiple scoliosis, Gulf War syndrome and many more. The Director Dr. Michael Mullan leads his team of researchers to exciting findings. Recently the Institute has been given a grant from the VA for their research involving Gulf War Illness. This Illness that inflicts the soldiers that fought during the Gulf War affects their motor skills, memory, stability and other problematic symptoms. How the Illness commenced was through the combination of the neurotoxins and pesticides given to the soldiers. The research done in the Institute led to the finding that shows the toxic mixture affects the long fatty acid chains within the brain. Research continues within the walls of the 42,000 sq. ft research facility hopefully terminating the life altering Illness for our Veterans.

for more information on the Roskamp Institute please visit:
http://www.mullanalzheimer.com
http://www.mullanalzheimer.info
www.rfdn.org

Roskamp Institute Scientists Discover Genetic and Biological Consequences of Substance Abuse

A 2004 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that about 34 million Americans have had some exposure to cocaine at least once in their lifetime. The addictive properties of this drug is well recognized and results in an increased direct cost in medical care as well as indirect cost due to increased societal burden. The Roskamp Institute, located in Sarasota Florida is currently engaged in research into discovery of biological biomarkers and novel treatments for substance abuse. Michael Mullan MD PhD (Director of the Roskamp Institute), during his medical training in London, worked on addiction and determined that certain addictive disorders had a significant genetic component. It is now well-established that substance dependency has a prominent genetic component and approximately 40-60% of the vulnerability to substances can be sufficiently attributed to these genetic factors. Previously, the Roskamp Institute scientists demonstrated that a polymorphism in gene for mu-opioid receptor (OPRM1 +118A) is a risk for alcohol dependency. This Roskamp Institute team then examined the frequency of OPRM1 +118A carrying genotypes and alleles in several groups of substance-dependent cases compared to individuals with no history of reported substance abuse. These Roskamp Institute scientists found that the OPRM1 +118 polymorphism is a genetic risk factor for substance dependence but not specific to a particular substance (findings published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry).

Dr. Fiona Crawford (Associate director, Roskamp Institute) and Dr. Michael Mullan (Director, Roskamp Institute) received an award from the Counterdrug Technology Assessment Center (CTAC) to evaluate the newly emerged genomics and proteomics technologies and determine their usefulness in finding potential biomarkers and treatments for substance abuse. Dr. Fiona Crawford along with her Roskamp Institute team using this genomic technology investigated the fundamental transcriptional responses occurring in neurons as a consequence of acute cocaine exposure over a time period. These Roskamp Institute scientists used GeneChip Operating Software from Affymetrix to compare the genomic response in neuronal cells exposed to cocaine compared to cells that were not exposed and showed a time-dependent increase of genes associated with pro-inflammatory and immune responses. These findings suggest that the inflammatory and immune systems maybe involved in modulating response to an acute cocaine exposure (originally published in the Journal of Neurochemistry).

Next, this Roskamp Institute team determined a role of oxidative stress in cocaine exposure in human progenitor neuronal cells. Although, it is evident that cocaine induces oxidative stress in the central nervous system, little is known whether such increase in oxidative stress is also relevant to cell death in cocaine-exposed models. To gain further insight into the role of cocaine-induced oxidative stress, the Roskamp Institute scientists hypothesized that oxidative stress precedes cell death upon cocaine exposure and demonstrated that oxidative stress was significantly increased in neuronal cells treated with cocaine and this phenomenon preceded cell death. Therefore, these findings have implications for cocaine abuse in circumstances where antioxidant system is compromised, as in the aging brain (original findings in the Journal of Neurochemistry International).

The addictive properties of these psychoactive substances is well recognized and results in enormous burden of direct and indirect costs to the US economy. The Roskamp Institute is dedicated to understanding the factors that predispose individuals to substance abuse as well as discover additional molecular targets for therapeutic intervention.

for more information on the Roskamp Institute please visit:

http://www.mullanalzheimer.com

http://www.mullanalzheimer.info

www.rfdn.org

The Roskamp Institute funded by the Veterans Administration to find cellular mechanism implicated in the Gulf War Illnesses

The Veterans Administration announced that by November 2004, veterans who served in the Gulf War between 1990 and 1991 experienced illnesses of unknown etiology which were subsequently categorized as “Gulf War Illnesses”. The Veterans Administration acknowledges a need for systematic scientific identification of the specific molecular mechanisms underlying this disease, from which development of treatments may emerge. The Veterans Administration is particularly dedicated to improving healthcare for veterans who served in the Gulf War.

Michael Mullan MD, PhD (Director of the Roskamp Institute) and Fiona Crawford PhD (Associate Director of the Roskamp Institute) received a three-year grant from this esteemed agency to fund the research on genomics and proteomics analysis of cellular responses to Gulf War agents. Drs. Michael Mullan and Fiona Crawford were previously funded through the Counterdrug Technology Assessment Center (CTAC) to evaluate these advance genomics and proteomics technologies for potential use in identification of biological pathways implicated in neuropsychiatric diseases. Thus, this is a great collaborative union between US government agencies to help find treatments for illnesses that affect our beloved veterans.

This funded proposal will utilize genomics and proteomics technologies among other state-of-the-art resources available at the Roskamp Institute and its affiliated laboratories at the James A. Haley VA Hospital to characterize the cellular responses to biological warfare agents. At the Roskamp Institute, these technologies will be applied to investigate and characterize the in vitro responses to agents such as acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (i.e. pyridostigmine bromide, organophosphate pesticides) and anthrax vaccination. By identifying biological and cellular mechanisms modulated in response to these exposures in the simple in vitro models, the Roskamp Institute scientists will identify initial responses to these agents and then determine if they become pathological with disease progression. This research by the Roskamp Institute will increase our understanding of the underlying mechanisms of these illnesses as well as present targets for potential therapeutic intervention.

The Roskamp Institute is dedicated to exposing the causes of and finding novel treatments for neuropsychiatric, neurodegenerative and addictive disorders. The Roskamp Institute was founded in 1998 by the philanthropic visions of Robert and Diane Roskamp of Sarasota, Florida. In 2003, under the directorship of Dr. Michael Mullan and through the generous support of Mr. and Mrs. Roskamp, the Roskamp Institute was relocated to Sarasota, Florida. The Roskamp Institute, at present, is funded by various US government agencies, such as the National Institute of Aging, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), CTAC, the US Department of Defense and the Veterans Administration. Currently, the Roskamp Institute occupies approximately 41,000 sq ft of facility with over 50 brilliant scientists engaged in creative research endeavors to find treatments for neuropsychiatric disorders and clinicians who are dedicated to helping patients and their family members cope with these devastating disorders.

for more information on Alzheimer’s and the Roskamp Institute please visit:

http://www.mullanalzheimer.com

http://www.mullanalzheimer.info

www.rfdn.org

The Roskamp Institute Battles Drug Abuse

A National Survey on drug abuse in America reported in 2004 that about 34 million Americans are currently using or have been exposed to cocaine at some point in their lifetime. Cocaine is highly addictive and affects individuals along with their families. The cost of health care services has risen due to the increasing use of cocaine. Currently, the Roskamp Institute is involved in research to discover a treatment for substance abuse. Dr. Michael Mullan MD, PhD is the director of the Roskamp Institute and has worked vigorously on addiction and has found that addictive disorders have a significant genetic component. These genetic components play a key role in drug abuse.
The Roskamp Institute scientists have previously shown that a genetic change called polymorphism in a gene for an opioid receptor in the brain is a risk factor for alcohol dependency. With this information, the Roskamp Institute researchers then examined the frequencies of this polymorphism carrying genotypes and alleles in numerous groups of individuals addicted to the substance versus individuals with no history of addiction to the substance. These Roskamp Institute scientists found that the mu-opioid receptor’s polymorphism is a genetic risk factor for substance dependence but not to any particular type of drug. Meaning, an individual with this polymorphism is more likely to become addicted to a substance than an individual without it. The Roskamp Institute previously published these findings in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.
Dr. Mullan and Dr. Crawford along with the other researchers at the Roskamp Institute received an award from the Counter drug Technology Assessment Center (CTAC), to continue their work on drug addiction.
Affymetrix is a name of the company which provides the Roskamp Institute with the genetic software that is used by scientists who study genetics (genomics). The Roskamp Institute used genomics technology in order to find the cocaine’s affects on the brain cells known as neuronal cells. The Roskamp Institute scientists continue to research projects which are focused on the inflammatory and immune responses to cocaine. The Roskamp Institute scientists showed that these responses also results from the exposure of the neuronal cells to cocaine and these responses are also time dependant. These findings, originally published in the Journal of Neurochemistry, illustrate that there are biological and physical consequences of cocaine addiction.
The Roskamp Institute researchers are currently working on studies involving oxidative stress in the brain. This oxidative stress can also be caused by excessive use of cocaine and is hypothesized to result in permanent brain damage. With such experiments in progress, the Roskamp Institute is a good candidate for additional government funding and these discoveries will be useful towards the battle against drug abuse in form of treatments.

The Traumatic Brain Injury Program at the Roskamp Institute

Among the soldiers who survive conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the traumatic brain injuries account for a larger proportion of their casualties than in any other US war in recent history. According to the Joint Theater Trauma Registry, established by the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research, approximately 22 percent of the injured US soldiers received injuries to the head, face, or neck. A major reason for this high ratio of these injuries is Kevlar body armor and helmets. Although, it successfully protects these soldiers from bullets and shrapnel exposure,Kevlar helmets cannot fully protect theface, head, and neck areas. Additionally, it is also unsuccessful in preventing the closedbrain injuries produced by blasts. Furthermore, among patients evaluated at Walter Reed hospital, closed head injuries outnumber other penetrating injuries (originally published in New England Journal of Medicine).

Most individuals with a mild traumatic brain injury improve entirely within a year,but moderate and severe brain injuries are more complex and have long-term consequences. The Center of disease Control and Prevention estimated that 5.3 million Americans are living with disabilities resulting from traumatic brain injury. Dr. Michael Mullan (Director of the Roskamp Institute) Dr. Fiona Crawford (Associate Director of the Roskamp Institute) and their team of scientists previously demonstrated that apolipoprotein E (APOE) influences traumatic brain injury outcomes. These Roskamp Institute scientists examined 110 participants from the Defense and Veterans’ Head Injury Program to determine a relationship between APOE genotype and memory performance on certain cognitive tests administered to these head injured soldiers. The memory performance was much worse in soldiers who had at least had one APOE epsilon 4 allele compared to those who did not. This Roskamp Institute team also determined that these findings were limited to memory and not other cognitive performances such as executive functioning. Therefore, these data support a specific role for the APOE protein in memory outcome following TBI, and suggest an APOE isoform-specific effect on neuronal repair processes (originally published in the journal Neurology).

Dr. Fiona Crawford received a Merit award from the Veteran’s Administration to further study, using genomics technology, the role of APOE in Traumatic Brain Injury. Dr. Fiona Crawford and her Roskamp Institute team have now completed the experiments showing differences in genomics response among the different mouse models after traumatic brain injury. Recently, Drs. Michael Mullan and Fiona Crawford received a prestigious award of $1.5 million from the Department of Defense which will allow the Roskamp Institute to investigate ApoE and other proteins to find potential peripheral biological markers and novel therapeutic treatments for traumatic brain injury. Florida Senator Bill Nelson recently toured the Roskamp Institute to observe its traumatic brain injury program in support of the soldiers affected by this devastating condition.

The Roskamp Institute is a world-renowned state-of-the-art research and clinical facility located in Sarasota Florida dedicating to finding novel therapeutics for treatment of neuropsychiatric disorder, especially Alzheimer’s disease, traumatic brain injury and substance abuse. The Roskamp Institute is supported by the funding from government agencies such the National Institutes of Health, the Veteran’s Administration and the Department of Defense as well as private donations from the Robert and Diane Roskamp Foundation.

for more information on Alzheimer’s please visit:

http://www.mullanalzheimer.com

http://www.mullanalzheimer.info

www.rfdn.org

Roskamp Institute finds one of the genetic causes for Tourettes syndrome

Tourette syndrome (TS) is a heterogeneous childhood disorder and occurs with a frequency of approximately four to ten per 10,000 in the general population (Mason et al. 1998). The symptoms for Tourette syndrome include multiple motor and one or more vocal tics. These symptoms appear to overlap with other neurobehavioral disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, mood disorders and learning disorders. The origin of Tourette syndrome is not clearly understood at this time. However, there appears to be presence of a genetic component, evidence for which comes from both family and twin studies. Furthermore, a complex mode of inheritance has been suggested which probably involves several genes with different effect size. Additionally, environmental factors such as prenatal and birth complications may also influence the disease manifestation.
The Roskamp Institute scientists Drs. Michael Mullan (Director of the Roskamp Institute), Fiona Crawford (Associate Director of the Roskamp Institute) and Ghania Ait-ghezala (a senior scientist at the Roskamp Institute) have previously shown that among patients diagnosed with Tourettes syndrome in two unrelated families, there appears to be a breakage and translocation on chromosome 8 (original findings published in the journal Human Genetics). Drs. Fiona Crawford and Ghania Ait-ghezala subsequently received funding from the Tourettes syndrome association to further characterize this chromosomal breakage.
Currently, there is no treatment available for Tourettes syndrome. Although, the symptoms in most individuals improve by the late teens and early 20s, this disorder is generally lifelong and chronic. Studies have also shown that although symptoms such as tics may disappear after the childhood period, it is possible that other psychiatric disorders such as depression, panic attacks, mood swings, and antisocial behaviors persist and cause lifelong impairment in adults. Therefore, a treatment for this disorder is much needed so that a child can actually be disease free throughout his/her life and has a decent chance of living a normal life. The Roskamp Institute is currently engaged in molecular biological research aimed at determining the genes that are disturbed when this chromosomal breakage and translocation occur. Through this novel finding, the scientists at the Roskamp Institute hope to discover a treatment for Tourettes syndrome.
The Roskamp Institute is located in Sarasota Florida and is a not-for-profit stand alone research institute dedicated to finding cures for neuropsychiatric disorders. The Roskamp Institute is currently conducting a clinical trial evaluating safely and efficacy of nilvadipine for the treatment for Alzheimer’s disease (clinical trial being performed in Dublin, Ireland). Furthermore, the Roskamp Institute is conducting various molecular biological studies to find treatment for chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and other neuropsychiatric disorders such as traumatic brain injury, gulf war syndrome, and substance abuse. The Roskamp Institute operates two memory disorder clinics located in Sarasota and Tampa, Florida. These clinics conduct diagnostic assessments for memory disorders and conduct industry and government funded clinical trials in several neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders. The Roskamp institute is currently funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Veteran’s Administration, the Department of Defense and the private donation by the Robert and Diane Roskamp foundation. For more information or the research or clinical trials, please contact us at 94-752-2949.

Sarasota’s Roskamp Institute Welcomes U.S. Senator Bill Nelson

August 21, 2007

Sarasota, Fla. – The Roskamp Institute today welcomed U.S. Senator Bill Nelson to its research facility in Sarasota, Florida, where the Senator toured the laboratories and discussed the various types of research currently being conducted at the Institute.

“We thank Senator Nelson for his interest in our research and for coming to the Institute to tour our lab and view our good work first hand,” said Dr. Michael Mullan, director of the Roskamp Institute. “We are proud of the research our Institute has done and look forward to continuing in our quest to better understand and ultimately cure debilitating diseases of the mind.”

While Senator Nelson’s visit was mainly to discuss with the researchers the current and future research being done in relations to Traumatic Brain Injury, the Roskamp Institute is devoted to understanding the causes of and finding cures for various neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders and addictions. Specifically, the Institute utilizes a broad range of scientific approaches to understand the causes of and potential therapies for these disorders with an emphasis on Alzheimer’s disease.

“We currently have 45 scientists and 10 clinicians with eight active clinical trials in the field with several more on the horizon,” Dr. Mullan continued. “It is vital that we are persistent in our pursuit to help Florida’s sufferers and their families and we are glad Senator Nelson is here to share in our goal.”

The Roskamp Institute has built its esteemed reputation amongst the research community and has been heralded for its achievements including:

• Being the first Florida-based Alzheimer’s Research Institute (and one of only a handful of Institutes worldwide) to conduct a human clinical trial with a drug discovered by its own research.
• Discovering a new class of drugs that lower the production of the main pathological protein that causes Alzheimer’s disease.
• Applying state of the art technologies (proteomics and genomics) to find early diagnostic markers for Alzheimer’s disease.
• Extensive participation from Florida residents in the Institute’s leading edge Alzheimer’s research program.

for more information on Alzheimer’s please visit:

http://www.mullanalzheimer.com

http://www.mullanalzheimer.info

www.rfdn.org

Dr. Mullan’s Alzheimer Research Offers Invaluable Insights On The Disease

Millions of people across the globe suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. It is estimated (Alzheimer’s Association, 2008) that in every 71 seconds someone from the US develops Alzheimer’s disease, and estimations by mid-century shows that the probability of someone developing Alzheimer’s disease is every 33 seconds. At present, there are approximately 5.2 million Americans in all age groups who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease; and 13% of these patients fall in the age category of 65 years and older. It is calculated that by 2050 the number of Alzheimer’s patients falling in the age category of 65 years and older will increase to a range of over 11 million to 16 million alone (Alzheimer’s Association, 2008). The facts and figures are alarming and bring our focus to the unmet demand for effective therapeutics and new researches for treatments related to Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr. Michael Mullan is an accredited professional from biomedical field. He has extensively researched on the causes and prospective cures of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders conditions. Based in Sarasota, Florida, he is reputed Director of Roskamp Institute. He is a highly qualified professional and has dedicated his time to finding cures for neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders and addictions. Dr. Mullan’s Alzheimer research work has provided invaluable insights on the disease with which many potential cures have been developed and tested. Dr. Mullan’s Alzheimer research indicates that one of the causes directly related to the disease is the excess accumulation of beta-amyloid, a type of protein, present in the brain. It was estimated that the protein is produced in every human but its excess accumulation can result in Alzheimer’s. Besides, Dr. Mullan’s Alzheimer research continuously tests medications and therapeutic treatments to help slow down the accumulation of beta-amyloid and related inflammation in patients.
About Dr Michael Mullan
Dr Michael Mullan has been working in the biomedical field for many years. He is a leading researcher with special expertise in assessment of the earliest cognitive symptoms and stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Mullan’s Alzheimer research works are also published in various articles which help students and researchers for making new discoveries. Find out more about his Alzheimer research works, by browsing through www.rfdn.org or www.mullanalzheimer.com or www.mullanalzheimer.info.

Dr. Mullan’s Alzheimer Research Identified Various Genetic Variations

Based in Sarasota, Florida, The Roskamp Institute is a not-for-profit organization. It has dedicated time to finding cures for several neuropsychiatric disorders with a special emphasis on Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In order to develop therapeutic targets which are specific to Alzheimer’s disease etiology, the scientists engaged in current research at Roskamp Institute focus on dissecting the molecular biological pathways which are associated in Alzheimer’s disease pathogenesis.
Dr. Michael Mullan is the Director of the Roskamp Institute, and along with his team, he discovered the concept of ‘Swedish mutation’, a genetic error which results in overproduction of beta-amyloid by aberrant proteolytic processing of amyloid precursor protein (APP). The concept of Swedish mutation now forms the bases of most mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. Many tests and findings by the Roskamp Institute resulted in several therapeutic prospects for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease as well as Cancer.
The Roskamp Institute has contributed greatly by providing research on the treatments of several neuropsychiatric disorders like traumatic brain injury, substance abuse, and Alzheimer, etc. With the guidance and knowledge provided by Dr. Mullan, the institute tested many causes and correlations between Alzheimer’s disease and proteins present in human brain. With Dr. Mullan’s Alzheimer research, several types of genetic variations, which can be the cause of Alzheimer’s, have been identified. It was discovered that the central reason to the disease process is a small protein identified as the ß (beta)-amyloid. Although, this protein is present normally in the human brain, but at times excess or abnormal accumulation can result in Alzheimer’s disease. With Dr. Mullan’s Alzheimer research, the institute tests cutting edge cures, therapeutic treatments and medications to slow down the process of toxic ß-amyloid accumulation.
Dr Mullan’s Alzheimer research proves that Aβ peptide prevents blood vessel growth and eventually inhibits tumor growth in brain. To identify if Aβ has the same effect with short derivatives, he studied various sequences within the Alzheimer’s Aβ peptide which have potential therapeutic relevance in preventing tumor growth. Dr. Mullan’s Alzheimer research work has contributed exceptionally to the field to help understand the disease and find its cures. Find out more about his Alzheimer research works, by browsing through www.rfdn.org or www.mullanalzheimer.com or www.mullanalzheimer.info.

Family History of Alzheimer's disease - what does it mean?

Frequently in the Roskamp institute Memory Clinic we are asked what a family history of Alzheimer’s disease means for the children and other blood relatives of sufferers. Although this question is always handled on an individual basis there are some general guidelines that can be offered to access risk for the disease to children and other family members related to a sufferer. Naturally, family members who perceive they are at risk for developing the disease themselves may suffer from a great degree of anxiety it is therefore important to ask the staff at the Roskamp Institute what the individual risk is for developing the disease. In general the genetic risk for Alzheimer’s disease can be divided into two categories; early onset familial disease which is highly genetic and occurs in families which may have onsets of the disease in the 40s,50s or 60s; late onset disease which is frequently familial but where the disease onsets in the seventh decade onwards. We shall consider these two scenarios separately.

Early onset Alzheimer’s disease.

The term “early onset Alzheimer’s” is frequently misunderstood or used in a confusing way. What we generally mean by early onset Alzheimer’s is Alzheimer’s that onsets before the age to 60 years. This is in contrast to the term early onset as referencing the early stage of the disease. This is a confusing way to use the term and is discouraged. Early stage disease is a better term to describe the early phases of the disease. Early onset familial disease occurs in families that are affected in multiple generations by mutations in genes that can trigger the disease. Families of early onset disease thankfully are very rare but they have provided great insight into the disease process probably in all cases of the disease (early and late onset). Sadly, frequently in these families the disease is inherited in what is known as an autosomal dominant fashion. Autosomal dominant inheritance means that 50% of the offspring of each generation on average are impacted by the disease. Some generations may be very fortunate and although they may be at risk for inheriting the diseased gene from one or the other parent none of the siblings in a sibship may be affected. On the contrary sibships can be very unlucky in which case more than 50% are impacted with the disease. For each child of an affected parent there is a 50% chance of inheriting the disease and this chance is not influenced by whether other siblings have already inherited the disease or not.

Unfortunately the inheritance of these rare genetic variance means that individuals at risk are highly likely to develop the disease if they live long enough. One of the important characteristics of these familial mutations is that the disease tends to onset around approximately the same time of life. Thus if a family has a mean (average) age of onset of 52 and one inherits one of these rare generic errors then one is unlikely to live to 60 without developing signs or symptoms of the disease. By contrast if one does not carry the mutation then there is no more risk for the disease than the general population.

Again it is most important to emphasize that such families are extremely rare and early onset Alzheimer’s is not the most likely reason for patients or their families to visit the Roskamp Institute Clinic. In fact, approximately 1% or less of cases of Alzheimer’s Disease have what can be described as early onset disease. In the past, individuals who come from such families have sought genetic counseling including genetic testing for these genetic errors. It is relatively straightforward to detect such errors but clearly the genetic information is highly sensitive. Family members should therefore think very carefully before seeking such information however initially finding out more about early onset disease is a recommended step.

Clinicians at the Roskamp Institute are happy to discuss early onset disease with patients and their families as they wish. Finally it should be noted that many cases of early onset disease occur without a family history. Thus individuals can manifest the disease before the age of 60 but have no other known family members either in the prior generations or in subsequent generations that develop the disease the cause of early onset Alzheimer’s that is not familial is not well understood but importantly there is no risk to subsequent family members for development of the disease.

Late onset (common) Alzheimer’s disease. Much more commonly patients and their families come to the clinic at the Roskamp Institute and seek advice on the inheritance of Alzheimer’s when one or more members of the family has late onset disease. This is defined as disease which onsets over the age of 60 and this is by far in a way the most common cause of the disease. It is estimated that approximately 4 million Americans presently either have the disease or are in the early or pre clinical stages - most of these cases are late onset Alzheimer’s Disease. The predicted numbers for future disease prevalence are very high. For instance it is estimated that by mid century there could be as many as two hundred million individuals afflicted with the disease.

Most late onset Alzheimer’s disease does not exhibit a clear autosomal dominant pattern meaning that the risk to offspring of individuals suffering with the disease is usually considerably less than 50%. Certain genetic risk factors for late onset disease have been identified - the most important of which is apolipoprotein E (APOE). There are 3 common forms of APOE: E2, E3 and E4. The discovery by Allen Roses and his colleagues at Duke University showed that Alzheimer’s disease sufferers were much more likely to carry one or two copies of the E4 allele (genetic form) of APOE than the normal population. Carrying one copy of APOE 4 increases ones risk for the disease by approximately three times and carrying two copies can increase the risk for the disease by up to fifteen times compared to individuals who do not carry an APOE 4 allele.

Many family members express interest in being genetically tested for their risk for the disease. Such tests are commercially available but most centers discourage the use of testing prior to symptoms because many individuals who carry an APOE 4 allele do not necessarily develop the disease at least until late old age. Conversely it’s very possible to develop Alzheimer’s disease without carrying an APOE 4 allele. Therefore on an individual basis the test is not overly helpful in specifying who may or may not develop the disease. However on a group basis APOE genetic testing is very helpful to give an average estimate of the numbers of individuals who will subsequently develop Alzheimer’s.

It is anticipated that as better treatments are available for Alzheimer’s disease there will be greater interest in genetic testing. For instance it is expected that as treatments are used earlier and earlier in the stages of the disease that individuals in the very early stage or maybe with no symptoms at all might seek medical treatment once such treatment has been established as effective in stopping the rate of progression or disease onset.

Despite the fact that genetic testing is not used frequently in clinical practice it is a tremendous tool in assisting researchers in understanding when and why the diseases develops and in planning clinical trials to take into account who is most likely to develop the disease. Already there is evidence from several clinical trials that individuals that carry the APOE 4 allele may be more refractory to certain treatments. As drug development progresses it will be important to develop medications that are able to tackle the severest form of the disease i.e. those patients who are carrying and APOE 4 allele.

Summary: The two types of familial Alzheimer’s disease differ in the risk for offspring of developing the disease. The early onset cases as noted have children that are highly at risk for developing the disease if there is a family history. By contrast late onset disease or low clustering in families is much less genetically predisposed. In both cases genetic tests are available but are generally discouraged particularly for late onset disease. Roskamp Institute researchers and clinicians are well versed in the genetic aspects of the disease and can advise on an individual or family basis as required.

The Roskamp Institute is a not-for-profit research Institute located in Sarasota and Tampa, Florida, that is dedicated to understanding the causes of, and finding cures for, neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders and addictions with an emphasis on Alzheimer’s disease. The Institute’s Memory Clinics also offer comprehensive cognitive and medical assessment toward differential diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and offers treatments and disease management options once the diagnostic evaluation is complete

By Dr. Michael Mullan, Director of Alzheimer Research Institute, The Roskamp Institute

for more information on Alzheimer’s please visit:

http://www.mullanalzheimer.com

http://www.mullanalzheimer.info

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Research