Catalyst Awardee Dena Dubal's Research on Drug to Turbocharge the Brain

Note: The New York Times has published an article featuring the research of Catalyst Awardee and UCSF Professor Dena Dubal, MD, PhD. Dr. Dubal's research investigates the hormone Klotho in potential treatments for dementia and other aging disorders. Dr. Dubal's Fall 2016 Catalyst Award titled, "Brain Resilience: A New Approach for Treating Neurodegenerative Diseases" supported this research through funding and consultations.

One Day There May Be a Drug to Turbocharge the Brain. Who Should Get It?

Dena Dubal
Dena Dubal, MD, PhD

By Carl Zimmer via The New York Times

In 2011, Dr. Dena Dubal was hired by the University of California, San Francisco, as an assistant professor of neurology. She set up a new lab with one chief goal: to understand a mysterious hormone called Klotho.

Dr. Dubal wondered if it might be the key to finding effective treatments for dementia and other disorders of the aging brain. At the time, scientists only knew enough about Klotho to be fascinated by it.

Mice bred to make extra Klotho lived 30 percent longer, for instance. But scientists also had found Klotho in the brain, and so Dr. Dubal launched experiments to see whether it had any effect on how mice learn and remember.

The results were startling. In one study, she and her colleagues found that extra Klotho protects mice with symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease from cognitive decline. “Their thinking, in every way that we could measure them, was preserved,” said Dr. Dubal.

Read full article here