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USM Researchers a Step Closer to Finding Cure for Alzheimer’s Disease

Photo: usm.edu

HATTIESBURG, Miss.- More than 83,000 people were killed from Alzheimer’s Disease in 2010 alone. The life-threatening illness has no cure, but with the help of Mississippi Idea Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE), Southern Miss Professor Vijay Rangachari is a step closer to finding a cure or better treatments for those with the disease, through his research.

Rangachari joins in the worldwide effort researching the behavior and formation of the disease in order to find better ways to treat Alzheimer’s, delay its onset, and prevent it from developing.

“Our lab is working to discover exactly how Alzheimer’s disease forms and behaves as this information is widely unknown,” said Dexter Dean, a graduate student who works with Rangachari.

Over the past several years, with funding from Mississippi INBRE through a grant from the National Institutes of Health, Rangachari has researched the disease and published several reports of his findings.

Alzheimer’s disease forms because a protein turns bad which causes other proteins to turn bad leading to the death of neurons. As the bad proteins turn the good proteins to bad proteins, this causes “plaques” to form in the brain.

Rangachari’s lab is researching to discover what causes the bad proteins to turn the good proteins to bad proteins. The team’s newest publication details new information on the rate in which the proteins change and their behavior.

“Mississippi INBRE’s funding of this project has been extremely important. They provided the support needed to conduct our research,” Rangachari said.

Mississippi INBRE is a statewide program that is funded by an Institutional Development Award (IDeA) from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health. Its mission is to enhance the biomedical foundation in Mississippi and to reach out to Mississippians in order to improve health throughout the state.

Mississippi INBRE seeks to engage talented researchers and students in biomedical research projects that will increase the state’s research competitiveness as well as impact the health of citizens of Mississippi.

For more information about Mississippi INBRE, check out their website, msinbre.org.

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