Dr. Cummings, who is
a member of our community advisory board, is the principal investigator. In addition to the LRCBH team, he's working with the UNLV team consisting of Jefferson Kinney, PhD, an associate professor in UNLV's Department of Psychology and Joseph Lombardo, executive director of the National Supercomputing Center for Energy and Environment.
The grant includes two imaging projects at LRCBH. One examines specific imaging and neuropsychological testing in Parkinson disease; the second project compares imaging and testing between Parkinson and Alzheimer patients. An incredible strength of LRCBH is that many of their patients allow the use of their medical records, imaging and testing for research.
UNLV's research will examine specific immunologic reactions to the amyloid protein seen in Alzheimer patients' brains. This research will examine whether it is possible to use an antibody to the amyloid protein to make the soluble amyloid disappear in order to slow or stop the disease progression.
Core activities supported by the grant are clinical research and data analysis. Clinical research includes compiling and storing all the de-identified patient histories, records on the progression of patients' diseases, and their specimens. This core is essential and becomes the central repository for all the records, specimens and radiographic images.
The second core will be used to analyze all the data generated by the clinical research. Correlations need to be done using de-identified images, specimen data and other pertinent information. These complicated analyses require a very powerful computing system. UNLV's Supercomputing Center uses Intel's Cherry Creek supercomputer. Correlating various pieces of information is only part of the job; the other part is doing the statistical analysis to prove it is an important correlation.
What's exciting about the COBRE grant is the partnership it creates between the LRCBH and UNLV. It brings together expert researchers, a robust patient population, and powerful computing analyses to better understand two common diseases.
These projects are specifically targeted toward identifying new diagnostic tests, treatments and ultimately cure for these common human diseases. We believe this is just the beginning of many exciting and important grants where we can leverage the strength of each institution to build something better than either of us could do alone.