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JULY 1, 2008
  Penn Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research Receives Gift from Bilger Foundation

PHILADELPHIA –The Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research (CNDR) at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine has received $500,000 from the Bilger Foundation to identify new approaches and unique drug targets for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and, through its Drug Discovery Center, translate these research findings into new therapeutic drugs.

“Through the generosity of the Bilger family we are able to pursue two novel lead compounds for Alzheimer drug discovery that look promising in preliminary studies, but need substantial investment to evaluate as potential Alzheimer therapies,” says John Q. Trojanowski, MD, PhD, Director, Institute on Aging. “Because there will be no magic bullets for Alzheimer’s, this gift is highly significant in that it will support research that, if successful, could put more drugs in the pipeline aimed at helping Alzheimer patients by blocking or abrogating the disease process.”

“The Bilger family gift will enable us to determine if an off-label drug used to treat organ rejection in transplant patients can be used to treat Alzheimer’s disease,” explains Virginia M.Y. Lee, PhD, CNDR Director. “Additionally, we will test compounds that belong to a class of drugs that block oxidative damage, but this program is at an earlier stage of development and will require more work before we can test it in animal models of Alzheimer’s disease. These studies will test important new avenues of therapeutic intervention in Alzheimer’s disease.”

The Bilger Foundation is headed by Arthur H. Bilger, Wharton Class of 1975, and his wife, Dahlia Bilger. The Foundation has executed this gift to establish The Nathan Bilger Alzheimer Drug Discovery Initiative in memory and honor of Mr. Bilger’s father, Nathan.

Alzheimer’s disease afflicts more than 5 million patients in the U.S. This number will increase to about 8 million in the U.S. by 2030, with an economic impact likely to exceed $500 billion. Although a small number of marketed drugs provide short-term symptomatic benefit, no approved treatments exist that arrest disease progression.


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