• Taube/Koret Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research

About The Taube/Koret Center

The goal of the Taube-Koret Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research (TKC) is to establish a translational research and development center that will undertake an ambitious task of preventing, treating, and curing neurodegenerative diseases; such as Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Frontotemporal Dementia. The center aims to achieve this goal with innovative programs that targets a critical gap between the discovery of putative targets, which typically occurs in academia, and the development of safe and effective drugs, which require the resources and expertise of industry. The TKC research program will consist of a target validation and drug development program and a target/drug discovery program. Both will benefit from access to experienced individuals with extensive industrial and drug development expertise and to highly experienced Contract Research Organization (CRO) providers.

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The state of neurodegenerative diseases in the United States can be summarized in two statements. First, after more than 100 years, no effective treatments exist for most of the major neurodegenerative diseases. Second, the number of Americans afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease is expected to quadruple to 20 million by 2050 with a huge increase in cost and suffering. The other neurodegenerative diseases are expected to similarly increase.

With this great need and after so many years, why is the situation so bleak?

My path into medicine and science was not a straight one, at least not at first. In elementary and high school, I scored well on tests and received special opportunities, but I mostly tried to hide that geek side. It wasn’t cool, and it was definitely not a way to impress girls. In fact, I met the girl who became my wife in 7th grade (so my strategy worked!), and she can’t believe what a different person I actually am compared with the person she knew in high school. Believe it or not, most people thought of me as a jock (three sports: football, basketball, tennis). 

Frontotemporal Demetia

Although not as well-known as Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a serious health problem. It is the second most common cause of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease and the most common cause in those under age 65. It involves the loss of neurons in the frontal (behind the forehead) and temporal (over the ears) lobes of the brain. FTD is hard to diagnose, but it generally involves problems with changes in social behavior and conduct, loss of understanding of words, and difficulty in speaking. Unlike Alzheimer’s disease, FTD does not affect memory.