The prize recognizes Dr. Orr’s innovative research targeting senescent cells to treat Alzheimer’s disease
NEW YORK, Sept. 22, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) has named Miranda E. Orr, PhD, Assistant Professor of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine, as the recipient of the 2022 Melvin R. Goodes Prize for Excellence in Alzheimer’s Drug Development. The annual award includes $150,000 and will support Dr. Orr’s pioneering work targeting senescent cells to translate the biology of aging into effective treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr. Orr’s research is focused on how aging affects brain cells and contributes to neurodegeneration. Her work targets “zombie” or senescent cells, which develop mechanisms to avoid the natural death cycle that should come to all cells and instead live on, accumulating in the brain, causing brain inflammation and releasing damaging toxins.
“Dr. Orr’s research is a critical part of this pivotal moment in Alzheimer’s research, as the focus shifts toward how the biology of aging underlies Alzheimer’s disease,” says Dr. Howard Fillit, Co-Founder and Chief Science Officer at the ADDF. “Dr. Orr’s groundbreaking work, now in a phase 2 clinical trial with support from the ADDF, is evaluating a treatment targeting aging cells in the brains of people with mild cognitive impairment or early-stage Alzheimer’s disease.”
The biology of aging, a theory that emphasizes the importance of taking a holistic view of the many biological changes that contribute to Alzheimer’s disease, is key to Dr. Orr’s work. The ADDF was an early advocate of this theory and believes drugs aimed at a diverse array of targets will be key to effectively treating this disease.
Dr. Orr’s Senolytic Therapy to Modulate the Progression of Alzheimer’s Disease (SToMP-AD) trial, which is funded by the ADDF, will measure the safety of a combination treatment, as well as its impact on clearing senescent cells and whether that results in improvements in memory, attention, reasoning, and language, among other measures of dementia.
“What an incredible honor to be a recipient of this award, and to be in the company of the prior awardees whose pioneering research has similarly benefited from the generosity of the ADDF and Mel and Nancy Goodes,” said Dr. Orr. “It is also a wonderful endorsement of the work we’re doing to understand and target biological aging as an underlying cause of Alzheimer’s disease. We hope our study helps bring us another step closer to having multiple treatment options and approaches that can be combined and personalized to improve the outlook for millions of Americans and tens of millions of others with Alzheimer’s around the world.”
The Melvin R. Goodes Prize is named in honor of the courage, legacy and research advocacy of Mr. Goodes, former Warner-Lambert CEO and Chairman and honorary member of the ADDF’s Board of Governors. It was created thanks to the generosity of Mr. Goodes and his wife, Nancy, who is also on the ADDF’s Board. The Goodes Family Foundation committed $750,000 to fund the Goodes Prizes for 10 years, and the ADDF matched that contribution. Each year, the Goodes Prizes is awarded to a professionally active researcher in academia or industry who has pursued novel research and made a significant and lasting impact in Alzheimer’s drug development. A Selection Committee that includes leaders in the field nominates candidates for consideration and chooses a winner based on past achievements and proposed future research.
- 2015: Frank Longo, MD, PhD
- 2016: D. Martin Watterson, PhD
- 2017: Roberta Diaz Brinton, PhD
- 2018: Michela Gallagher, PhD
- 2019: Jeffrey Cummings, MD
- 2020: Jerri M. Rook, PhD
- 2021: Miia Kivipelto, MD, PhD
Founded in 1998 by Leonard A. and Ronald S. Lauder, the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation is dedicated to rapidly accelerating the discovery of drugs to prevent, treat and cure Alzheimer’s disease. The ADDF is the only public charity solely focused on funding the development of drugs for Alzheimer’s, employing a venture philanthropy model to support research in academia and the biotech industry. The ADDF’s leadership and contributions to the field have played a pivotal role in bringing the first Alzheimer’s PET scan (Amyvid™) and blood test (PrecivityAD™) to market, as well as fueling the current robust and diverse drug pipeline. Through the generosity of its donors, the ADDF has awarded more than $209 million to fund over 690 Alzheimer’s drug discovery programs, biomarker programs and clinical trials in 19 countries. To learn more, please visit: http://www.alzdiscovery.org/.
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SOURCE Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation