A popular pharmaceutical company is investing millions with a La Jolla research institute hoping to help fund a breakthrough in the fight against Alzheimer's disease.
The Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute Monday announced a three-year collaboration with Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceutics to try and come up with compounds to stop the progression of Alzheimer's Disease.
An estimated 5 million Americans have it and it'll take great minds to spare those of it victims.
Michael Jackson, Ph.D. is vice-president of drug discovery and development at Sanford-Burham, which over the last five years has been developing the necessary infrastructure for the highest levels of Alzheimer's research.
"The Alzheimer's treatments we have out there today really are not what we call 'disease-modifying,’” Jackson said. “They can slow the progress down or the symptoms down, make them slightly less severe for a short period of time. But then, it would seem, the disease continues on its slow and progressive deadly way."
His explanations of human stem-cell biology, advanced screening, microscopy and insults to neurons can set a layman's mind reeling.
The upshot is that the institute is bringing fresh eyes and new approaches to the process, and a growing sense that they'll somehow find 'interventions' that'll put the brakes on Alzheimer's.
“Alzheimer's Disease is particular is one of the toughest,” said Michael Jackson, Ph.D. “That is why we're all searching so hard.
“I think our molecular understanding of the disease has improved. But we still have a ways to go,” Jackson said.
Sanford-Burnham's work in conjunction with pharmaceutical firm's researchers will extend beyond Alzheimer's to other neurological issues such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and depression.
They want to see what linkage and common threads there might be, to develop drugs for those, too.