Archive for the 'Michael Mullan' Category

Roskamp Institute Supports Moves for Greater State Funding of Biotech Research

Roskamp Institute Director Dr. Michael Mullan was one of many who represented the biotech industry at the Biotechnology Legislative Caucus yesterday to request more state funding in helping the industry thrive in the state. This is important to Florida this would help the state diversify its economy more, and many organizations within the state have active projects. For instance, the institute is testing Nilvadipine, an experimental drug aimed at treating early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, and has other projects.

You can read more about the Biotechnology Legislative Caucus in the Tallahasee Democrat‘s article “Florida biotech industry leaders call for ‘next step’” and Bradenton Herald‘s “Biotech touted as key to future,” both of which were published today.

The Roskamp Insitute website also has more information.

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Nilvadipine an anti-hypertensive drug, as a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease

    The recent findings showing that certain anti-hypertensive (drugs which lower hypertension) drugs may be helpful in Alzheimer’s disease, is consistent with the work of the Roskamp Institute. The Roskamp Institute has been conducting pioneering research in this area for several years and is currently conducting a clinical trial in Europe to test whether a hypertension lowering drug, Nilvadipine, is safe as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.
Nilvadipine is a known anti-hypertensive which has been used for many years in Japan and also commonly used in some parts of Europe for treatment of hypertension. Nilvadipine has had a good safety profile in both Europe and Japan.

In the past, much work has linked hypertension to Alzheimer’s disease. For instance it is known that hypertension is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. However, pure hypertension can cause a dementia distinct from Alzheimer’s by casing strokes. Stroke related dementia has a number of names (multi-infarct dementia, vascular dementia) but the basic idea is that hypertension results in bleeding into the brain. This bleeding due to hypertension and consequent rupture of blood vessels in the brain can be avoided if medications are taken to lower hypertension. Nilvadipine is one of the drugs that can do this and therefore is useful in preventing stroke related dementia.

Interestingly, aside from the risk for stroke related dementia, there is also an increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease in those people with hypertension. No one really knows why this link exists. Researchers at the Roskamp Institute previously showed that amyloid can increase the constriction of blood vessels in Alzheimer’s disease. This link may explain why there is a reduction in blood flow in Alzheimer brains – but there are likely to be other reasons as well. For instance, Roskamp Institute researchers have also shown that amyloid can also reduce the growth of new blood vessels in the brain – a process called angiogenesis.

The Roskamp Institute researchers have instigated this clinical trial using Nilvadipine as it shows beneficial effects in a number of pre-clinical and clinical studies. For instance, in addition to its anti-hypertensive effects, Nilvadipine has been shown to improve cognition (mental functioning) in patients in the early stages of the disease. In a clinical trial in Japan, Nilvadipine is compared with another common anti-hypertensive drug – Amlodipine – which is used in the US for hypertension. Both drugs lower blood pressure but compared to Amlodipine, Nilvadipine specifically improves blood flow in the brain and cognitive abilities in these patients.

The recent studies show that not all anti-hypertensives are going to be useful in Alzheimer’s disease. The work of the Roskamp Institute is very much in agreement with this as they have shown that many hypertension lowering drugs are unlikely to be helpful in Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, some are likely to be more harmful as they raise the amount of amyloid in the laboratory experiments. We will learn much more about the potential use of hypertension lowering drugs as the Roskamp Institute brings Nilvadipine into clinical trials in the United States for testing its use as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.

The Traumatic Brain Injury Program at the Roskamp Institute

The Traumatic Brain Injury Program at the Roskamp Institute

Among the soldiers who survive conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the traumatic brain injuries account for a larger proportion of their casualties than in any other US war in recent history. According to the Joint Theater Trauma Registry, established by the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research, approximately 22 percent of the injured US soldiers received injuries to the head, face, or neck. A major reason for this high ratio of these injuries is Kevlar body armor and helmets. Although, it successfully protects these soldiers from bullets and shrapnel exposure, Kevlar helmets cannot fully protect the face, head, and neck areas. Additionally, it is also unsuccessful in preventing the closed brain injuries produced by blasts. Furthermore, among patients evaluated at Walter Reed hospital, closed head injuries outnumber other penetrating injuries (originally published in New England Journal of Medicine).

Most individuals with a mild traumatic brain injury improve entirely within a year, but moderate and severe brain injuries are more complex and have long-term consequences. The Center of disease Control and Prevention estimated that 5.3 million Americans are living with disabilities resulting from traumatic brain injury. Dr. Michael Mullan (Director of the Roskamp Institute) Dr. Fiona Crawford (Associate Director of the Roskamp Institute) and their team of scientists previously demonstrated that apolipoprotein E (APOE) influences traumatic brain injury outcomes. These Roskamp Institute scientists examined 110 participants from the Defense and Veterans’ Head Injury Program to determine a relationship between APOE genotype and memory performance on certain cognitive tests administered to these head injured soldiers. The memory performance was much worse in soldiers who had at least had one APOE epsilon 4 allele compared to those who did not. This Roskamp Institute team also determined that these findings were limited to memory and not other cognitive performances such as executive functioning. Therefore, these data support a specific role for the APOE protein in memory outcome following TBI, and suggest an APOE isoform-specific effect on neuronal repair processes (originally published in the journal Neurology).

Dr. Fiona Crawford received a Merit award from the Veteran’s Administration to further study, using genomics technology, the role of APOE in Traumatic Brain Injury. Dr. Fiona Crawford and her Roskamp Institute team have now completed the experiments showing differences in genomics response among the different mouse models after traumatic brain injury. Recently, Drs. Michael Mullan and Fiona Crawford received a prestigious award of $1.5 million from the Department of Defense which will allow the Roskamp Institute to investigate ApoE and other proteins to find potential peripheral biological markers and novel therapeutic treatments for traumatic brain injury. Florida Senator Bill Nelson recently toured the Roskamp Institute to observe its traumatic brain injury program in support of the soldiers affected by this devastating condition.

The Roskamp Institute is a world-renowned state-of-the-art research and clinical facility located in Sarasota Florida dedicating to finding novel therapeutics for treatment of neuropsychiatric disorder, especially Alzheimer’s disease, traumatic brain injury and substance abuse. The Roskamp Institute is supported by the funding from government agencies such the National Institutes of Health, the Veteran’s Administration and the Department of Defense as well as private donations from the Robert and Diane Roskamp Foundation.

The Roskamp Institute Is Good for Manatee County, Florida

The Bradenton Herald reports that at an economic development panel discussion on Friday sponsored by the Manatee Economic Development Council that, as a panelist, Roskamp Institute director Michael Mullan revealed that his organization brings top researchers to the area.  It also provides skilled, technical jobs, but unfortunately it is hard to find suitable lab technicians in the area.

Roskamp Institute Announces New Treatment

Following is a video of a local television show on the Roskamp Institute’s new alzheimer’s treatment.

alzheimers michael mullan

Roskamp Institute Media Coverage

Following is a breakdown of some additional media coverage about the Roskamp Institute’s recent announcement of a new Phase III MS Study to Evaluate the Efficacy and Safety of FTY720.  Following is some of the pickups.

alzheimers michael mullan

Michael Mullan Featured in Another Story

The story we featured a few weeks ago has been picked up by the Orlando Sentinel. You can read the story here.

alzheimers michael mullan