SIUE School of Pharmacy Awarded $2.65 Million Grant for Alzheimer’s Research

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Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Pharmacy researchers have been awarded a five-year, $2.65 million grant from the National Institute of Aging, a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to strengthen their efforts in combating Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Ken Witt, associate professor SIUE School of Pharmacy.

Receiving the NIH RO1 grant sets the stage for Dr. Witt and his team to develop breakthroughs in Alzheimer’s treatment

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Pharmacy researchers have been awarded a five-year, $2.65 million grant from the National Institute of Aging, a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to strengthen their efforts in combating Alzheimer’s disease.

An estimated 5.3 million Americans are battling Alzheimer’s disease, identified as the nation’s sixth leading cause of death with no cure and limited means of treatment. The enormous impact of this devastating disease was highlighted in President Obama’s State of the Union address, in which he targeted it as a research priority.

The SIUE School of Pharmacy research team, comprised of medicinal chemists, pharmacologists and pharmaceutics experts, will use the funding to develop a drug for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

“The National Institutes of Health has placed a significant amount of responsibility in our hands,” said Dr. Ken Witt, principal investigator and associate professor in the School of Pharmacy. “Now, we can truly make things happen. Securing the funding is merely putting needed fuel in the tank and getting those tires moving faster.”

“Receiving the NIH RO1 grant sets the stage for Dr. Witt and his team to develop breakthroughs in Alzheimer’s treatment,” added Gireesh Gupchup, dean of the SIUE School of Pharmacy. “This further emphasizes the School’s commitment to research and drug discovery.”

Initial investigations by the research team began more than ten years ago. Dr. Witt notes the program has now reached a critical point as it begins a period of developing, testing and retesting various drug candidates in a series of early stage models.

“While this process is admittedly complex when viewed from the outside, it is actually highly regulated and based on well-established criteria for moving drugs forward, and eventually getting them to early stage human trials.”

SIUE School of Pharmacy: Today’s pharmacists improve patients’ lives through the medication and education they provide. Dedicated to developing a community of caring pharmacists, the SIUE School of Pharmacy curriculum is nationally recognized as a model that offers students a unique combination of classroom education, research, community service and patient care. The School of Pharmacy’s areas of excellence include a drug design and discovery core; pediatric practice; chronic pain research and practice; and diabetes research and practice. As the only downstate Illinois pharmacy doctorate program, the SIUE School of Pharmacy is addressing the growing need for highly trained pharmacists in a rapidly growing field.

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