Biology Seminar - Characterization of a Drosophila Alzheimer's disease model

Characterization of a Drosophila Alzheimer's disease model: Uses and Benefits

Dr. Daniel Marenda

Drexel University

4:30-5:30PM Tuesday October 29, Carnegie 10

The average cost of bringing a novel drug to market is $1.8 billion, and requires approximately 13.5 years of development. High throughput cell-based screening assays for drug discovery are very effective for identifying novel compounds that have the potential for therapeutic use. However, one of the principal reasons for the high costs of drug development is due to the failure of candidate compounds identified in cell based screens when tested for in vivo efficacy and toxicity in rodents. Increasing the success rate of compounds in rodent disease models would hopefully speed effective drugs to the market. One way to overcome this low success rate would be by developing a rapid and sensitive in vivo pre-rodent/post-cell test for drug efficacy and toxicity. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder which is the most common cause of dementia in the developed world, affecting roughly 5.4 million Americans, and costing an estimated $200 billion to treat in 2010. There are are no approved drugs to treat the underlying causes of AD. Thus, AD drug development would greatly benefit from faster in vivo tests for efficacy and toxicity to speed the process of drug development. This talk will focus on a novel model of AD my lab has created using the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster.  We hypothesize that this model can serve as an effective intermediate between cells and rodents in AD drug testing. The talk will describe how we have created this model in fruit flies, and how we have already tested the model by identifying a potentially new therapeutic compound for further testing in AD.

This seminar is sponsored the Biology Department seminar series.