American Health Assistance Applauds Distinguished Scientists Receiving MetLife Foundation's Prestigious Alzheimer's Research Awards

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CLARKSBURG, MD-The American Health Assistance Foundation applauds scientists who received the prestigious MetLife Award for Medical Research in Alzheimer's Disease, an honor that recognizes outstanding researchers in the field and provides grants to further their work.

Christine Van Broeckhoven, Ph.D., D.Sc., a molecular biologist and geneticist at the University of Antwerp, Belgium, was recognized for groundbreaking discoveries on the genetic basis of inherited Alzheimer's disease. Radiologist Clifford R. Jack, Jr., M.D., of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, was honored for his imaging methodology to track the stages of this disease. Randall J. Bateman, M.D., a neurologist at Washington University in St. Louis, received the MetLife Promising Investigator Award for his pioneering work in measuring beta-amyloid protein in real-time.

“We commend these exceptional research leaders,” says Guy Eakin, Ph.D, Vice President for Scientific Affairs at AHAF, which funds research and provides public information on this degenerative disease. “The MetLife Award is one of the field's highest honors, and is a well deserved recognition of these dedicated, creative, and highly productive scientists who have truly changed the way we think about Alzheimer's. We are, of course, pleased to have played a role in funding two of these scientists early in their careers.”

Two of the scientists-Van Broeckhoven and Batemanv-are past recipients of grants from AHAF's Alzheimer's Disease Research (ADR) program. Van Broeckhoven is also the president of the scientific advisory board of one of AHAF's European global partners, Stichting voor Alzheimer Onderzoek (SAO)/ Fondation pour la Recherche sur la Maladie d'Alzheimer, located in Zellik, Belgium. The nonprofit organization supports scientific research and provides public information on Alzheimer's disease.

Van Broeckhoven, an internationally recognized molecular biologist, is a professor and head of the Department of Molecular Genetics at the University of Antwerp in Belgium. Nearly 30 years ago, she identified the first gene linked to familial Alzheimer's disease. She was part of an international consortium that discovered five new genes associated with Alzheimer's disease. Her research has established critical features of the genetic basis of different types of dementia. In recent years, she and her colleagues provided the first evidence that growth factors play a major role in neurodegeneration in certain types of dementia.

Bateman is a neurologist and biochemist at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He has pioneered the use of Stable Isotope Labeling Kinetics (SILK) to measure amyloid-beta (ABeta) protein in cerebrospinal fluid. ABeta accumulates as the hallmark “plaques” in the brains of those with this disease. Bateman has shown that people living with Alzheimer's disease do not properly eliminate amyloid-beta protein, and that Alzheimer's is therefore a disease of clearance rather than production of ABeta.

His lab is studying additional Alzheimer's-related proteins to find ways in which the disease changes the brain's functional properties. His work may help develop better diagnostic and treatment strategies for Alzheimer's disease. Some of Bateman's technologies will be part of a highly anticipated human clinical trial that will examine whether the cancer drug bexarotene can help the body clear out amyloid-beta proteins.

Jack is a professor of radiology and the Alexander Family Professor of Alzheimer's Disease Research at the Mayo Clinic. He has developed and applied medical imaging methods that identify biomarkers of Alzheimer's disease and help track the progression of disease. His initial work focused on anatomic MRI, and he has also contributed to the understanding of other imaging including MR spectroscopy, diffusion imaging, functional MRI, high field micro-imaging, and amyloid PET analyses.

For more on the MetLife Awards, visit
https://www.afar.org/events/metlife-foundation-awards-for-medical-research

To learn about AHAF's current Alzheimer's Disease Research grants, see 
http://www.ahaf.org/research/grants/adrcurrentawards.html

About the American Health Assistance Foundation 

The American Health Assistance Foundation (www.ahaf.org) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to finding cures for age-related degenerative diseases by funding research worldwide under its three program areas: Alzheimer's Disease Research, Macular Degeneration Research, and National Glaucoma Research. AHAF also provides public information about these diseases.

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