Home Cellular health UTSA awards $4 million to Alzheimer’s researchers worldwide

UTSA awards $4 million to Alzheimer’s researchers worldwide


A UT Health San Antonio professor is among four researchers from around the world who have been awarded $500,000 each – part of the Oskar Fischer Prize at the University of Texas at San Antonio – for their work to advance understanding to society the causes of Alzheimer’s disease.

UTSA on Wednesday announced the results of its Oskar Fischer Prize, an international competition that awards $4 million in prizes to 10 people. The competition awarded gold, silver and bronze prizes of $500,000, $400,000 and $300,000, respectively.

San Antonio scientist Bess Frost received one of the $500,000 prizes for her theory on the cause of Alzheimer’s disease.

Frost is the Bartell Zachry Professor Emeritus for Neurodegenerative Disorders Research at the Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies, the Glenn Biggs Institute for Alzheimer’s and Neurodegenerative Disorders, and the Department of Cellular Systems and Anatomy at UT Health San Antonio.

She proposes that neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease and related tauopathies result from the negative consequences of pathogenic forms of tau on three-dimensional DNA packaging. In his submission, Frost wrote that this type of DNA restructuring affects the cellular identity of brain cells and results in cell death.

Frost’s lab at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center at San Antonio, which studies the basic science underlying Alzheimer’s disease, is currently recruiting patients with an early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease to a phase 2 clinical trial. The trial is studying an antiretroviral drug called 3TC, which has been approved to treat HIV.

Gold awards were also given to Carlo Abbate of IRCCS Fondazione Don Carlo Gnocchi, Istituto Palazzolo, Italy; Estela Area-Gomez of Columbia University in New York and the Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas “Margarita Salas” in Spain; and Ralph Nixon of the Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research just outside New York.

Silver prizes were awarded to Bernd Moosmann of Johannes Gutenberg University in Germany and Donald Weaver of the University of Toronto. The bronze award recipients are Annelise Barron from Stanford University, Gunnar Gouras from Lund University in Sweden, Varghese John from UCLA and Russell Swerdlow from the University of Kansas Medical Center.

The Oskar Fischer Prize was launched in late 2019 following a $5 million philanthropic gift to UTSA from Texas businessman James Truchard, who co-founded software company National Instruments.

UTSA President Taylor Eighmy said in a statement that the competition “allows us to have a significant impact on new discoveries in the field of brain health that will directly help solve the mysteries of brain disease. ‘Alzheimer’s’.

“Despite a century and tens of billions of dollars spent on research into Alzheimer’s disease, no definitive explanation for a cause has been found,” Truchard said. “The objective of the prize is to generate ideas that can lay the foundations for future research. Although no single entry covers all the major aspects of Alzheimer’s disease, I believe that a combination of these ideas creates a launch pad for future research.

According to Alzheimer’s Disease International, approximately 55 million people worldwide live with dementia. This population is expected to reach 78 million by 2030.

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