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Brain Foundation grant awarded to eye researcher

Dr Damian Hernandez and his University of Melbourne co-investigator Associate Professor Alice Pébay were selected as part of the BF’s 2017 research awards.According to Hernandez, one of the major limitations of understanding Alzheimer’s is the technical difficulty of studying the human brain. However, the researchers are hoping to overcome this challenge through the use of pluripotent st cells.{{quote-a:r-w:400-I:2-Q:“Despite enormous research efforts Alzheimer’s disease is still poorly understood, so our research project will look at using a person’s st cells to model the disease.”-WHO:Damian Hernandez, CERA}}Pluripotent st cells are of incredible value scientifically, as they have the capacity to become any cell type in the body – including brain cells.“Despite enormous research efforts Alzheimer’s disease is still poorly understood, so our research project will look at using a person’s st cells to model the disease,” Dr. Hernandez said.“We will then use the latest gene editing technology, CRISPR, to modify a special form of a protein APOE that is linked to a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s.”Current animal models of Alzheimer’s do not fully recapitulate the disease, making it difficult to understand the mechanisms that result in pathology. Such an understanding is crucial for developing treatment strategies to prevent or slow progression of the disease.According to Hernandez, the development of a human model of Alzheimer’s diseases could be key to the next generation of therapies for dentia.“Our model will help researchers better understand Alzheimer’s disease and be a tool for new drug development,” he said, adding “This award will allow me to focus on what I believe is one of the keys to understanding Alzheimer’s.”

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