A researcher from the University of Lethbridge and two from Laval University in Quebec have received a grant to help in developing new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.

The nearly $1 million, being provided over three years from the Weston Brain Institute, will be used to test out a promising drug target.

If successful, the research could lead to new treatments to prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s symptoms, delay progression of the disease, or even restore normal function after symptoms have appeared.

The U of L’s Dr. Majid Mohajerani says new treatments for Alzheimer’s are critically needed, especially ones which alter the course of the disease.

“Alzheimer’s disease has an enormous impact on patients, the health-care system and society. This is only anticipated to get worse as the population ages. Current treatments for Alzheimer’s disease only address some of the symptoms. They do not prevent or alter the course of the disease,” says Mohajerani.

This grant is the first for the U of L from the Weston Brain Institute.

Using genetically modified mice that model Alzheimer’s disease pathology and symptoms, the project aims to accelerate the development of therapeutics for Alzheimer’s disease by testing how altering potassium chloride co-transporter 2 (KCC2) function affects brain activity and behaviour during disease progression in living animals. If successful, this research would implicate KCC2 as an entirely new drug target for mitigating Alzheimer’s disease.

(With files from U of L news release)