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Neurodegeneration in the human brain - mechanisms and therapeutic targets

65 months
Approved budget:
Professor Michael Dragunow
Health issue:
Neurological (CNS)
Proposal type:
Lay summary
This programme of research is aimed at studying underlying mechanisms and treatments for the major neurodegenerative diseases - Alzheimer's, Epilepsy, Parkinson's, and Huntington's. Neurodegenerative diseases affect over 100,000 New Zealanders and this will markedly increase as the population ages. Our research programme which utilizes human brain tissue, cells and other models will focus on determining how neuropathology relates to symptomatology; investigate how inflammation contributes to neurodegeneration; evaluate the potential of neurogenesis for repair; develop technologies for drug target validation and screening; and directly test new treatments on human brain cells and in a unique transgenic model of neurodegenerative disease. These studies will be undertaken using a platform of resources (the human brain bank; in vitro and in vivo models) and techniques (tissue microarray, high content analysis, cell/molecular biology, neuroanatomy, neuropharmacology, neurophysiology, neuropsychology). Our goal is to translate lab-based research into therapies for patients suffering from neurodegenerative diseases in the community.