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2014 Grants - Pillai
Inflammatory Biomarkers in Rapidly Progressive Alzheimer’s Disease
Jagan A. Pillai, Ph.D.
Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland Clinic
2014 New Investigator Research Grant
Alzheimer’s disease progresses at different rates in different people, most survive an average of four to eight years after a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, yet some live as long as 20 years. The reason for this variability is not well understood, although it is becoming increasingly clear that Alzheimer’s disease may overlap with other dementias, producing mixed dementias.
One common feature of Alzheimer’s disease, especially in later stages of the disease, is the presence of inflammation in the brain. Inflammation is part of the body’s immune response that can have positive or negative consequences. Many researchers are studying if brain inflammation is a secondary effect of the disease or if it actively promotes disease progression.
Jagan A. Pillai, Ph.D., and colleagues have proposed that people who have rapidly progressing forms of Alzheimer’s disease have higher levels of inflammation in the brain than people with slower progressing forms. They plan to measure levels of inflammation-related biological molecules (inflammatory biomarkers) in the blood and cerebrospinal fluid of people developing Alzheimer’s disease. The cerebrospinal fluid is the fluid that surrounds nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. The goal of this work is to identify any inflammatory biomarkers that predict the rate of disease progression. These studies may help researchers understand the role of inflammation in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, they may form the basis for tests to help doctors predict which patients have rapidly progressing forms of the disease and suggest combination treatments that incorporate drugs to combat this neuroinflammation.