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Alzheimer’s Drug Development At UC San Diego Gets Federal Boost

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Aired 8/26/11

It's expensive to take a promising idea in the lab and turn it into an effective therapy. U.C. San Diego researchers hope to do just that, thanks to a new federal grant.

— Researchers at U.C. San Diego have been awarded a federal grant designed to get new drugs into development. The $1 million award will be used to develop a potential therapy for Alzheimer's disease.

For years, the National Institutes of Health has funded university researchers to explore new compounds. This new grant will help pay for the process of moving promising drugs into clinical trials.

U.C. San Diego grant winner Dr. Steve Wagner has been working on a novel approach to treating Alzheimer's disease.

"Forty-two percent of the population over 85 has this disorder," Wagner said. "It is going to cripple our society. And it's a very significant burden, and I think fast-tracking this is absolutely warranted."

Dr. Wagner said his drug reduces production of a protein that is believed to play a role in the death of brain cells. So far, the compound has only been tested on genetically-altered mice.

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