Alzheimer's Research Initiative Supports Aachen Researchers with 80,000 Euros

17/12/2012

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Aaron Voigt

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+49 241 80 85054

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How do nerve cells in the brain die? This is one of the crucial questions in the exploration of Alzheimer's disease. Dr. Aaron Voigt from the Department of Neurology at Aachen University Hospital is going to the source of the problem. His two year research project is being funded with 80000 Euros from the non-profit Alzheimer's Research Initiative e.V., AFI for short, the largest private funder of public Alzheimer's research in Germany.

 

Using pre-existing studies of Drosophila fruit flies, Dr. Voigt and his colleagues could show that disturbances in the transport of certain components in nerve cells ampflified the death of these cells. Evidently, the disrupted transport activates a chain of processes, that strengthen each other - resulting in the death of the nerve cells.

Within the framework of his current project, Dr. Voigt and his team wish to investigate whether the results are transferable in humans. Furthermore, the Aachen researchers want to find out, what mechanism causes the activation of the chain that ends with nerve cells dying. The so-called Tau-neufibrils are at the focus of this work. These are twisted protein fibers that attach themselves to nerve cells.

"The understanding of this relationship is immensely important in order to develop suitable therapies for Alzheimer's patients," said Dr. Voigt as he described the goal of his research project. The AFI's support enable this implementation: "Private research funding is an important instrument for financing science. The high number of scientific publications in which private research funding programs contribute a substainal part of funding proves that this approach is expedient."

Aside from Dr. Aaron Voigt's research project, the AFI will immediately start funding five other Alzheimer's research projects at the Universities of Göttingen, Bonn, Erlangen-Nuremberg, and Munich. The entire funding amount is 323,024 Euros. All projects were selected through a two part evaluation processes by the AFI Scientific Council, chaired by Prof. Dr. Walter E. Müller from the University of Frankfurt.