Alzheimer's Matters Blog

Closing in on a Cure: Dr. Roberta Diaz Brinton and Allopregnanolone

November 28, 2017

Category: Developing Drugs

Dr. Roberta Diaz Brinton

Dr. Roberta Diaz Brinton

The Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) is committed to advancing the best ideas to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease. As detailed in our Clinical Trials Report, 20% of the treatments for Alzheimer’s in clinical trials received support from us.

One of the most exciting of those treatments is allopregnanolone, which is being developed by Roberta Diaz Brinton, PhD. Dr. Brinton 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. Her research focuses on the bioenergetic and regenerative systems of the brain. 

Dr. Brinton’s discovered that allopregnanolone, a neuro-steroid, can activates neural stem cells to generate new brain cells. This process is called “neurogenesis” and it has the potential to restore lost cognitive function in Alzheimer's patients. Other researchers have attempted to spur neurogenesis directly using stem cells, but have failed. With support from the ADDF since 2004, Dr. Brinton developed allopregnanolone as a therapeutic that stimulates the proliferation of stem cells. In preclinical testing, this approach promoted neurogenesis and restored cognitive function.

Dr. Brinton has successfully completed a phase 1b/2a human clinical trial. She is now preparing for a larger phase 2 clinical trial, which is also receiving funding from the ADDF. 

When you make a donation to the ADDF, 100% of your contribution funds drug research for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.