Oscar L. Lopez, MD
Director of University of Pittsburgh Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center
Dr. Lopez's research will focus on plasmapheresis (the removal, treatment and return or exchange of blood components) in mice. To date there are no animal models, although it was previously tested in his trial with human subjects with a proven 66% success rate of stopping the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, and in some cases, even improvement; however, the “why” is still unknown. A breakthrough in these results will have implications on the optimal dosage and frequency of the treatment in humans, providing proper treatment as it relates to the varying disease stages.
The Scientist Behind the Mission
Dr. Lopez is the principal investigator of 3 NIH-funded grants as well as co-investigator in another 6 NIH-funded projects. You can read more about Dr. Friedlander's research and background in his University of Pittsburgh's Biography.
Explore Lopez's Dementia Research
Impact of Plasmapheresis on Alzheimer’s Pathophysiology: A Mouse Study
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a neuro-degenerative disorder that impacts millions of people worldwide. In general, the temporal progression of AD has been characterized by amyloid and tau protein accumulation, inflammation, cerebral hypometabolism and hypoperfusion, cognitive impairment and brain atrophy. Amyloid plaque accumulation is among the early events of AD pathology, it is toxic at relatively high concentrations, and is known to cause inflammation. As new potential approaches are being developed for disease management and treatment, the efficacy of these therapies should reflect delay or reversal of some (if not all) of the disease’s pathophysiology.
Plasmapheresis consists of the removal, treatment and return or exchange of blood components. Because of the positive results in recent studies using plasmapheresis in patients with moderate AD, there is a need to better understand the mechanisms that make this intervention successful. This is a new avenue of research that has not been previously explored. We propose to test the impact and efficacy of this potential treatment through similar imaging studies in AD mice.
Future Potential for this Project
A breakthrough in this project's results will have implications on the optimal dosage and frequency of the treatment in humans, providing proper treatment to be scripted on an individual basis as it relates to the varying disease stages.