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NDSU pharmaceutical sciences chair receives $1.4 million grant

Jagdish Singh
Jagdish Singh, chair and professor of pharmaceutical sciences, will receive at least a $1.4 million National Institutes of Health grant for Alzheimer's disease research.

Jagdish Singh, chair and professor in the pharmaceutical sciencesdepartment of the NDSU School of Pharmacy, is receiving a federal grant of at least $1.4 million for three years from the National Institutes of Health for Alzheimer’s disease research.

The grant funds research titled “Enhanced APOE2 Expression into Brain for Therapeutic Strategy for Alzheimer’s Disease.” Singh’s long-term research goal focuses on designing a gene delivery carrier that can efficiently deliver plasmid DNA encoding APOE2 to the brain to help prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease.

“The research of Dr. Singh and his lab places the NDSU College of Health Professions and its pharmaceutical sciences department at the forefront of adding to knowledge that may one day help find a better treatment for debilitating mental health conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease,” said Charles Peterson, dean of the School of Pharmacyand the College of Health Professions.

Singhand Takahisa Kanekiyo of Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, are co-principal investigator of the Alzheimer’s disease research. Buddhadev Layek, assistant professor in pharmaceutical sciences at NDSU, also is part of the faculty team.

Neurons carry information in the brain and communicate with each other at junctions called synapses. Think of it as an information superhighway where packets of information traveling through your brain are directed through these junctions to carry messages that control functions of the brain and of the body.

A protein called Apolipoprotein E (APOE) plays a critical role in maintaining the plasticity of the brain’s synapses, along with maintaining neuronal function. Studies have shown that APOE2 is more prevalent in people aged 100 or more and is associated with making them less susceptible to Alzheimer’s disease.

Additional research studies suggest that APOE2 could positively impact cognitive functions in aging. It may be possible, according to Singh, to increase the APOE2 level in the brain as an effective therapeutic strategy against Alzheimer’s disease.

One of the challenges in doing so, however, is what is called the blood-brain barrier. In addition to being complex, certain aspects of the human body also are designed to protect us and prevent substances from crossing that blood-brain barrier.

“Although gene therapy possesses immense potential of treating various neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, its clinical application is limited, mainly due to lack of safe and effective vectors that can efficiently deliver the therapeutic gene across the blood-brain barrier,” Singh said.

This research is supported by the NIH’s National Institute on Aging under Award Number RF1AG068034. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

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Last Updated: Friday, May 13, 2022 4:03:55 PM
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