The Salk Institute, known for cutting-edge research has received a $1.5 million grant from NANOS Co. Ltd. to research Alzheimer's disease. NANOS, based in the Republic of Korea, donated the money to establish a lab space at the La Jolla Salk Institute campus.
It will be called the NANOS Alzheimer's Disease Stem Cell Suite and will focus on the cellular roots of the disease. The plan is to set up a cell bank with both somatic and stem cells. In order to discover how AD begins and possibly develop drugs to treat it, cells will be necessary for study and analysis. Cells that are collected by the NANOS lab will be used to study DNA repair methods and other cell processes that go awry in Alzheimer's.
Salk President Rusty Gage, who studies cellular models of other forms of dementia as well as other conditions related to aging, stated, "With Alzheimer's among the leading causes of death, the disease has long been a significant focus for Salk researchers," As people worldwide live longer, the need to find novel treatments and therapies for diseases of aging becomes ever more urgent, and we are very grateful for the opportunity to partner with NANOS to expand our efforts in this vital area of research."
Worldwide, researchers are spending thousands of hours and millions of dollars to fight Alzheimer's disease. Every drug that has been tested has been found lacking, and there is currently no cure and no treatments that are effective. Alzheimer's disease is a progressive, neurodegenerative disease, that once begun, results in cognitive decline, memory loss and eventually death. Estimates from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) put the number at 15 million patients in the United States. Globally, cases are hovering at more than 44 million, and those numbers are rising steadily.
What is known is that beta-amyloid, which is a viscous, sticky protein that accumulates in Alzheimer's patients, is part of the disorder. It gets tangled in brain tissue and disrupts communication between neurons. It tends to stick to metals that are usually found in the brain like iron or copper and the interaction between the metals and the plaques cause proteins to clump together in globs that stop up the communication between parts of the brain. Eventually, the clumps get big enough to create inflammation in the mind, which causes oxidative stress and impairs brain function.
Seon Gil Yang, the chief executive officer of NANOS, stated, "We are very excited to support this research into Alzheimer's and build an emerging partnership between Salk and NANOS. It is vitally important for companies to support foundational research and build collaborations that can lead to essential therapies. Ultimately, the purpose of the collaboration between NANOS and Salk is to open a discussion about the creation of research and development centers focused on the biology of aging and Alzheimer's research. Such centers could involve various parties such as the Korean government, NANOS, the Salk Institute, and select medical university committees between the U.S. and Korea." The video below has more information on the collaboration between NANOS and the Salk Institute, take a look.