The Scripps Research Institute - At The Forefront

May 2013

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Focus on:
Unraveling a Central Mystery of Alzheimer's disease

Alzheimer's is a fatal neurodegenerative disorder afflicting more than 25 million people worldwide, with no known cure or treatment to slow its progression.

At The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), Professor Franck Polleux's research recently revealed that brain damage in Alzheimer’s disease is linked to the overactivation of an enzyme called AMPK. Dr. Polleux's team discovered that blocking that overactivation may stop the brain damage associated with the early phases of Alzheimer's.

This breakthrough may lead to the first effective treatment to fight the disease.


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Professor Franck Polleux and Research Associate Georges Mairet-Coello

Every day, our collaborative approach to research gets us closer to new treatments and cures for diseases like Alzheimer's that affect millions around the world. Help us continue our work towards these life-saving medications.

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Professor Corinne Lasmézas

milestones in medical science:
Existing Drugs May Treat Human Prion Diseases

Human prion diseases are some of the most rare yet terrifying diseases on the planet. Caused by misfolded proteins known as prions, these incurable diseases have disturbing symptoms such as dementia, personality shifts, hallucinations and coordination problems. The most well-known of these, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, can be described as the naturally occurring human equivalent of mad cow disease.

A team of Scripps Florida scientists led by Professor Corinne Lasmézas has just identified a pair of drugs that show anti-prion activity and could potentially treat these universally fatal disorders. What's especially noteworthy is that the drugs have already been approved for human use.

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The research team led by Associate Professor William Schief (second to left)

Other News:
New Vaccine Design for HIV

A team of scientists led by TSRI Associate Professor William R. Schief has recently discovered a new technique for vaccine design that could be particularly useful against HIV and other fast-changing viruses.

Scientists have long struggled to design a vaccine that will stimulate the immune system to produce the right kind of antibody response to protect against a wide range of viral strains. The team demonstrated its new technique by engineering an immunogen (substance that induces immunity) that has promise to reliably initiate an otherwise rare response effective against many types of HIV.


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Life-Saving Technology

Hours after delivering a keynote conference speech on the need to ensure that healthcare delivery keeps pace with rapidly advancing technology, Dr. Eric Topol of the Scripps Translational Science Institute, a collaboration between TSRI and Scripps Health, used one of those very technologies to treat a fellow passenger onboard a flight to Texas. Using his AliveCor heart monitor that attaches to an iPhone, Topol, a cardiologist, was able to diagnose the nauseous woman's abnormal heart rhythm. He then calmed and stabilized the patient. "I guess this is really a sign-of-the-time about how useful these mobile medical devices can be," he said.

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facts & figures

1 in 3 seniors dies from Alzheimer's or another form of dementia, according to 2013 estimates by the Alzheimer's Association.

The Scripps Research Institute

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