Alzheimer's Disease Research
Sonia Mazzitelli, Ph.D.
Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA, United States
Title: Mechanism of RIP-1 in Mediating Abeta Neurotoxicity
Non-Technical Title: A New Target for the Treatment of Alzheimer's Disease
Junying Yuan, Ph.D.
Harvard Medical School
Acknowledgements: This grant is made possible by a generous bequest from the Estate of Donald A. Reitzer.
Duration: July 1, 2012 - June 30, 2013
Award Type: Postdoctoral Fellowship
Award Amount: $50,000
Chronic inflammation is associated with a broad spectrum of neurodegenerative diseases of aging, including Alzheimer's disease (AD). Dr. Sonia Mazzitelli and colleagues propose a new way to investigate the connection between chronic inflammation and brain nerve-cell loss associated with AD. This research will provide relevant information to obtain a new target for a new type of therapy for AD.
Chronic inflammation is associated with a broad spectrum of neurodegenerative diseases of aging, including Alzheimer's disease. The lack of effective therapies clearly highlights the need for more research aimed at better understanding the specific mechanisms that cause AD
Dr. Sonia Mazzitelli and colleagues propose a new way to investigate the connection between chronic inflammation and the brain nerve-cell loss associated with AD. They have identified a new target and a new inhibitor, both of which may be involved with the brain-cell death induced by inflammation in AD. These researchers will first determine exactly how the target protein contributes to cell death by inflammation; then they will use an inhibitor drug against the target protein to see if it prevents this cell death. To test their new treatment, these researchers are using animals engineered to mimic the progression of symptoms in human AD. Being able to monitor any potential side effects experienced by these mice is important in validating the activity of the new drug.
The results of this study may lead to a new direction for developing anti-inflammatory drugs for the treatment not only of AD, and potentially of other diseases influenced by inflammation. Therefore, the Mazzitelli team's research may have an impact on other missions of BrightFocus, including finding new treatments for macular degeneration and glaucoma.
Dr. Sonia Mazzitelli is a postdoctoral student at the Harvard Medical School. She graduated with a BSc in Molecular and Cellular Biology and an MSc in Human Biology from the University of Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy, each with the highest grade. She completed an MRes in Integrative Biology and Neuroscience at the University of Manchester in England. Her research has always been focused on the validation of potential therapeutic strategies for neuropathologies, with particular emphasis on Alzheimer's disease. During her Ph.D. thesis, she developed a novel mouse model to study Alzheimer's disease. She is passionate about her work and especially about Alzheimer's Disease. During her undergraduate studies, she spent several months in the Fate Bene Fratelli Hospital where she had the opportunity to have direct contact with patients affected by this pathology. She is highly driven by the desire to find a cure for patients with Alzheimer's disease.