From a message distributed last week by Ginger Frost of our Department of History in the Howard College of Arts and Sciences:
“The laboratories of Andy Lampkins and Morgan Ponder are currently developing novel drug candidates for the treatment of Alzheimer’s. One of the major obstacles in creating treatments for this disease (and other neurodegenerative disorders) is ensuring that the drug reach the brain in active form. Most drug candidates for these conditions are ‘great in Petri dishes, but not in people’ since they are rapidly degraded in the body or unable to penetrate into the brain. Morgan and Andy’s team has used both computational simulations and bench chemistry to work toward a potential solution—amino acid-derived prodrugs. These unique molecules are inactive when ingested, but designed to rapidly enter the brain and undergo bio-activation in this tissue. The first generation of these drug candidates has been synthesized and their pharmaceutical properties are currently being evaluated. The project has brought in over $40,000 of extramural funds to the university, and scientists in three universities have taken part. Over twenty Samford undergraduates have had the invaluable research experience of working on the trials, resulting in eighteen presentations at local, state, and regional meetings. The project has also been the focus of three invited lectures. One publication has already come out of the research with another under review, and a third in preparation.
When a cure for Alzheimer’s does emerge, two of our colleagues will have helped to find it.”
The world is better because of the dedicated faculty members of Samford University.