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AIRMA announces 2007 research grant recipients

The Association Internationale pour la Recherche sur la Maladie d’Alzheimer (AIRMA) today selected the recipients for its 2007 research grant program, announced Janet R. Michaels, the nonprofit organization’s chairwoman.

Research projects to be funded will further clarify the roles of amyloid precursor protein (APP) metabolites, which regulate stem cells in the brain, as well as nutrition’s possible impact on the development of Alzheimer’s disease. The France-based Alzheimer’s research association also will provide funds to the INSERM Unit 837 Brain Bank.

With these newest grants, AIRMA has provided near 500,000 euros in grants to France-based research institutions since 2003.

Dr. Bernadette Allinquant, research team manager at INSERM Unit 573 in the Centre Paul Broca in Paris, and Dr. Pascale Barberger-Gateau of INSERM Bordeaux, were selected through a rigorous grant-application and review process.

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“AIRMA is thrilled to provide these grants to advance valuable research into risk factors and causes of Alzheimer’s disease,” Michaels said. “Our main purpose is to provide funds to promising research so we can shed light on and hopefully find a cure for Alzheimer’s.”

Dr. Allinquant’s research (“Mechanisms of neurostimulating properties of sAPP”) focuses on the function of the sAPP metabolite molecule and its putative role in protection - - of Alzheimer’s. Currently, the molecule’s function is not fully understood. In France, Dr. Allinquant, who holds doctoral degrees in biochemistry and neurochemistry, is a well-regarded researcher of Alzheimer’s, aging and neuro-developmental disorders, focusing on molecular and cell biology.

Dr. Barberger-Gateau, a senior lecturer at Bordeaux University, is researching the correlation between the presence of Vitamin A in the body and risk for Alzheimer’s disease (“Fatty acids, retinoids and Alzheimer’s Disease”). She has published various articles on the epidemiology of nutrition and food behavior in various international scientific journals.

The grantees were selected from among a highly deserving field of applicants through a stringent review and qualification process. The research teams were judged on a multitude of factors, including importance of the problem being researched, level of innovation and the capability of the researcher.

In addition to the 2007 grants, AIRMA also is providing funding to the INSERM Unit 837 (Lille, France) Brain Bank directed by Dr. André Delacourte. The Brain Bank is one of the premier brain banks in Europe, housing hundreds of specimens of brains affected by Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. Research conducted at the Brain Bank has helped discover and explain the 10-stage evolution of Alzheimer’s disease. This crucial research has been threatened by a lack of funding.

Dr. Delacourte is a noted biologist specializing in Alzheimer’s disease. He has studied neuro-degenerative diseases for more than 30 years. He is a unit research director at INSERM, the French Institute of Health and Medical Research, and heading up a team researching Alzheimer's disease.

More than 225,000 people are affected by Alzheimer’s in France each year. The age-related degenerative disease exerts a toll on the patient, the family and the French health system. In latter stages, Alzheimer’s patients require round-the-clock care.

Celine Torres | alfa
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