04/19/2006

Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute Hosts Alzheimer’s Seminar

Top Alzheimer’s disease researchers will gather in Charleston June 9

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Several prominent Alzheimer’s disease researchers will share their insights with the medical community, researchers and the public in the first scientific seminar organized by the Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute (BRNI).

“Illuminations: Progress in Alzheimer’s Disease Research,” will be held at 2:30 p.m. Friday, June 9, in the Embassy Suites in Charleston, W.Va.

Among the confirmed speakers are Richard Hodes, M.D., director, National Institute on Aging (NIA);  John Hardy, Ph.D., chief of the laboratory of neurogenetics, NIA; Samuel E. Gandy, MD, Ph.D., director, Farber Institute for Neurosciences, Thomas Jefferson University and Daniel L. Alkon, M.D.,  BRNI scientific director.

They will provide an overview of the current state of medical treatment and management of Alzheimer’s patients, and an update on the research that is taking place at BRNI and other leading research centers around the country.

“It has been an exciting year for the Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute which has unveiled promising research and secured patents on several new approaches to treating Alzheimer's disease,” said U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller, the founder of BRNI. 

“It was always important to me that BRNI be located right here in West Virginia because I knew we could create a world-class neuroscience research facility here at home and I wanted West Virginians to be among the first to benefit from the latest treatments and research,” Rockefeller said, adding, “This seminar in Charleston will bring together scientists and researchers from across the country to share with West Virginians firsthand their insight on the latest Alzheimer’s treatments now and into the future.”

Dr. Hodes, an immunologist, was named director of the NIA in 1993. He has enjoyed a long career in science at NIH – first as a clinical investigator in the National Cancer Institute, then as the deputy chief and acting chief of the Cancer Institute's Immunology Branch. Since 1982 he has served as program coordinator for the U.S.-Japan Cooperative Cancer Research Program, and since 1992 on the scientific advisory board of the Cancer Research Institute.

Dr. Hardy is a human geneticist and molecular biologist whose research interests focus on neurological disease. He has won the MetLife, the Allied Signal, the Paul and the Potamkin prizes for his work in describing the first genetic mutations in the amyloid gene in Alzheimer's disease in 1991.

Dr. Gandy is an internationally recognized expert in Alzheimer's pathology and drug discovery, and serves as vice chair of the National Medical and Scientific Advisory Council of the Alzheimer's Association.  He directs the extensive Alzheimer's research program at Farber, which includes three of the first anti-amyloid clinical trials in North America.

Dr. Alkon is a pioneer and an international authority on the molecular basis of memory.  He and his colleagues have demonstrated the convergence of memory signaling pathways with pathways responsible for Alzheimer's disease.  Based on these discoveries, he has developed drug and diagnostic strategies for the diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer's disease.  For many years before joining BRNI, he was a laboratory chief at the National Institute for Neurological Disorders.

"BRNI's primary mission is comprehensive molecular neuroscience of cognitive functions, particularly memory, and the development of drugs to treat cognitive disorders, particularly Alzheimer's disease,” Alkon said. “We seek to accelerate the transfer of basic neuroscience discoveries into practical treatments for patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease and other neurologic and psychiatric disorders."

Sen. Rockefeller founded the institute in memory of his mother, who died of Alzheimer's disease.

Admission to the seminar is free, but if you plan to attend, please RSVP by calling BRNI at (304) 293-3962.

- WVU -


06-098
For more information:
Bill Case, (304) 293-7087
casew@rcbhsc.wvu.edu
bc:04-19-06

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