OHSU awarded NIH grant to investigate Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers

OHSU researchers have secured a National Institute of Health grant of up to $1.9 million to develop ways to find biomarkers within human cerebral spinal fluid that may predict the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

This award is part of a new nationwide initiative by the NIH aimed at exploring the diverse and newly categorized molecules called extracellular RNAs. While exRNAs are already thought to play a role in a variety of biological processes, as well as contribute to a number of diseases and disorders, OHSU researchers will be focusing on the levels of exRNAs in cerebral spinal fluid to determine whether they could give some insight into the early development of Alzheimer’s disease.

Julie Saugstad, Ph.D., associate professor of anesthesiology and perioperative medicine and lead PI for the project, postulated that, “If scientists could find a signal indicating early development of Alzheimer’s disease, it would be invaluable in guiding clinicians toward early intervention to prevent or slow the disease, and potentially provide clues regarding the underlying cellular changes that initiate the disease.”

In pursuit of this goal, Dr. Saugstad’s team will be analyzing samples of cerebral spinal fluid for evidence of microRNA, a type of exRNA, by comparing the samples from Alzheimer’s patients against those of a healthy control group.

To learn more about this exciting new project see the full OHSU press release.

The NIH grant number for this project is 1UH2TR000903-01