News Release: Research , School of Medicine , Woodruff Health Sciences

Aug. 18,  2011

NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Selects Emory Team for Drug Discovery in Stroke

News Article ImageRaymond Dingledine, PhD

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has selected a research team from Emory University to develop new drugs for stroke as part of the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research. The Blueprint includes projects by seven teams of investigators throughout the United States focusing on conditions including stroke, vision and hearing loss, neurodegenerative diseases and depression.

The Emory team, supported by $969,000 in NIH funding over five years, and led by principal investigator Raymond Dingledine, PhD, aims to develop drugs based on compounds called prostaglandins, which have been shown to protect animals from brain damage following a stroke.

The team has identified compounds that enhance these protective effects by acting on a specific receptor for prostaglandins, known as EP2. Because stroke interventions work best when given shortly before or after stroke, the team plans to focus on developing EP2-targeted drugs for individuals with subarachnoid hemorrhage, a kind of stroke caused by a ruptured blood vessel. In the weeks following hemorrhage, such individuals are at increased risk for another stroke, and could benefit from a protective drug while they are in intensive care.

The NIH Blueprint pulls together resources from 15 of the agency’s institutes and centers and creates a Blueprint Neurotherapeutics Network that will serve as a resource for investigators to develop new drugs and prepare them for clinical trials. The Network will be funded at up to $50 million over five years.

In addition to research funding, project teams will have access to millions of dollars worth of services normally only available to pharmaceutical companies. Pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry consultants will assist investigators throughout the drug development process, from chemical optimization, to biological testing, to advancing the drug into early-stage clinical trials.

“This new Blueprint Network will allow us to move our research forward more rapidly into drug development and meet a challenging but critical need for better therapies for one of the primary causes of death and disability,” says Dingledine, who is executive associate dean for research and chair of the Department of Pharmacology in Emory School of Medicine. “This is a significant opportunity for the federal government to optimize the discoveries of its funded researchers and laboratories for the benefit of patients.”

Other members of the Emory team include Jianxiong Jiang, PhD, Asheebo Rohas, PhD, Yi Quan, PhD, and Nadia Lelutiu, M.S.

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The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focused on missions of teaching, research, health care and public service.

Learn more about Emory’s health sciences:
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Web: http://emoryhealthsciences.org

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