Roberta Diaz Brinton, PhD, has been named the winner of the 2017 Melvin R. Goodes Prize for Excellence in Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery. The prize, awarded by the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF), is the first to recognize researchers developing treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.
Dr. Brinton, who specializes in the bioenergetic and regenerative systems of the brain, is the inaugural Director of the Center for Innovation in Brain Science at the University of Arizona, where she also serves as Professor of Pharmacology and Neurology in the College of Medicine - Tucson. The prize includes a $150,000 award and will support Dr. Brinton’s therapeutic development of allopregnanolone, a neuro-steroid that activates neural stem cells to generate new brain cells. This process, called “neurogenesis,” could restore lost cognitive function.
“Dr. Brinton is among the most prominent researchers working on Alzheimer’s today,” said Howard Fillit, MD, Founding Executive Director and Chief Scientific Officer of the ADDF. “Her research output, including her development of what could become the first regenerative therapy for Alzheimer’s, is impressive. I have known Robbie for many years and am pleased that the Committee chose to honor her immense contribution to our field with the third annual Goodes Prize.”
Drug discovery researchers are often under recognized and make critical contributions toward the development of effective treatments and a cure for Alzheimer's disease. The Goodes Prize recognizes their determined efforts. A Selection Committee composed of seven leading scientists, including previous winners of the prize, nominates candidates for consideration and chooses the awardee based on past achievements and proposed future research. They noted that Dr. Brinton’s “integrative research strategies span discovery to translation to clinical science. She is one of few investigators in Alzheimer’s disease applying systems approaches to drug development to enable precision medicine in the field.”
“The recognition of our innovative therapeutic approach by the ADDF’s Goodes Prize is deeply gratifying. I am honored to be among those who continue the legacy of Melvin and Nancy Goodes to cure Alzheimer’s disease and am confident that together we will achieve the goal” said Dr. Brinton.
Dr. Brinton’s research goal is “precision therapeutics to delay, treat, and cure Alzheimer's disease.” In addition to the trial studying allopregnanolone and neurogenesis, her research is driving a second trial examining PhytoSERMs as a potential therapy to manage age-related cognitive decline and menopausal symptoms in women at risk for Alzheimer’s.
2017 GOODES PRIZE SELECTION COMMITTEE
- Frank Longo*, MD, Ph.D. - Chairman of the Board and Founder, PharmatrophiX
- Eli K. Michaelis, MD, Ph.D. - University Distinguished Professor, Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Kansas
- Richard Mohs, Ph.D. - Chief Scientific Officer, Global Alzheimer’s Platform Foundation
- Suzana Petanceska, Ph.D. - Senior Advisor for Strategic Development and Partnerships, Division of Neuroscience, National Institute on Aging
- Rachel Schindler, MD - Vice President, Neurosciences and Alzheimer’s Disease, Pfizer
- Linda Van Eldik, Ph.D. - Director, Sanders-Brown Center on Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease Center, the University of Kentucky
- Daniel Martin Watterson*, Ph.D. - John G. Searle Professor of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry and Professor of Pharmacology, Northwestern University
* Previous Goodes Prize Winner
About the Goodes Prize
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 discovery. 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.
About Melvin R. Goodes
Melvin R. Goodes joined Warner-Lambert Canada as manager of new product development in 1965 and quickly rose through the ranks to become CEO and Chairman Worldwide in 1991. Under his leadership, Warner-Lambert became a major player in the prescription drug industry, bringing Lipitor to market in 1996. Lipitor, a highly effective statin, was the world’s best-selling drug, with more than $135 billion in sales. Early in his tenure as CEO, he spearheaded the development of Cognex, the first drug approved by the FDA for Alzheimer’s disease. In 2010, Mr. Goodes made headlines with a landmark speech revealing his early-stage Alzheimer’s disease and pledging to apply all his efforts to speed up the search for new therapies. Since this speech, he and his wife Nancy have become strong ambassadors for the ADDF, inspiring hope among Alzheimer’s patients, caregivers, physicians, and researchers.