AAQI Awards Tenth Reserach Grant

(Burton, MI) January 3, 2012: The Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) has awarded a $30,000 research grant to the University of Michigan for a study led by Dr. Sylvie Garneau-Tsodikova, Assistant Professor of Medicinal Chemistry in the College of Pharmacy and Life Sciences Institute.

This is the tenth grant the charity has awarded for Alzheimer’s research. In 2011, the AAQI awarded four grants totaling $145,160 for research at the University of Michigan, the University of Pittsburgh, and Cornell University. AAQI grants are made possible in large part from income generated by selling small quilts made by its supporters.

On December 19th, 2011, AAQI volunteers hand delivered the $30,000 check to Dr. Garneau-Tsodikova at the Life Sciences Institute. They met her research team and toured the lab. Dr. Garneau-Tsodikova told the volunteers, "This money is far more meaningful than any other we have received because I know how it was raised." Her aunt and grandmother have Alzheimer's. Each of the scientists purchased a quilt.

Dr. Garneau-Tsodikova explains her research goals this way: “Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a complex neurodegenerative disorder of the central nervous system. Even though the exact cause of the disease remains unknown, several pathological hallmarks of AD have been identified. Examples of these hallmarks include (i) decreased levels of cholinergic neurons and neurotransmitter acetylcholine, (ii) the formation and aggregation of amyloid-beta plaques in the brain, (iii) inflammation and increased oxidative stress from reactive oxygen species, and (iv) the presence of metal ions such as copper and zinc that interact with the amyloid-beta plaques. Even though all of these hallmarks are interconnected and should be taken into consideration when designing novel drugs for the treatment of AD, most of the currently approved therapies are centered on only one of the problems associated with the disease, the decreased levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. In this work, we propose to design, synthesize, and test novel small molecules that will simultaneously target all of the four hallmarks of AD described above. We expect that with their multifunctional properties our compounds will better be suited to combat this devastating multifactorial disorder."

The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (www.alzquilts.org) is a national, grassroots organization whose mission is to raise awareness and fund research through art. It auctions and sells donated quilts through the Priority: Alzheimer's Quilt project and sponsors a touring exhibit of quilts about Alzheimer's called "Alzheimer's Illustrated: From Heartbreak to Hope." The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative has raised more than $679,000 since January 2006. Ami Simms of Flint, Michigan is the founder and executive director of the AAQI, a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation operated entirely by volunteers. She is a quilter. Her mother had Alzheimer's.

For more information on the AAQI or to make a donation, contact Ami Simms at 810-637-5586 (9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Eastern), ami@alzquilts.org or www.alzquilts.org.

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Contact:
Ami Simms
Founder and Executive Director
Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative
1200 Creekwood Trail
Burton, MI 48509
(810) 637-5586
www.alzquilts.org