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Greek CommunityHackensack Meridian Neuroscience Institute at JFK University Medical Center Awarded Research Grant...

Hackensack Meridian Neuroscience Institute at JFK University Medical Center Awarded Research Grant to Study Novel Approach to Repair Central Nervous System Damage from Chronic Alcohol Abuse

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Two-year grant will fund preclinical studies to explore new approach to address brain-cell degeneration and deficits in sensory-motor, psychological and cognitive functions caused by alcohol use disorder

(Edison, NJ – June 15, 2023) – Hackensack Meridian Neuroscience Institute at JFK University Medical Center announced today that it has been awarded a major research grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, to study a novel approach to treat damage to the central nervous system from chronic alcohol abuse. The two-year award of $464,887 is part of the highly competitive NIH grant application process that recognizes innovative scientific projects. NIH-funded research has led to scientific breakthroughs and new treatments that help people live longer, healthier lives.

The NIH grant will fund a project entitled “Peptide therapy for alcohol-induced central nervous system injury,” proposed by Mohammed Abdul Muneer, MSc, PhD, Research Scientist & Principal Investigator, Hackensack Meridian Neuroscience Institute at JFK University Medical Center, and associate professor of Neurology at the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine.

Their work hypothesizes that the neuroinflammation, neurodegeneration and cognitive deficits that result from alcohol-induced oxidative damage to neurons in the brain can be repaired by activating the antioxidant signaling Nrf2 (nuclear factor E2-related factor 2) pathway using a small Nrf2 activator III peptide, referred to as Nrf2 peptide.

“We at the Hackensack Meridian Neuroscience Institute at JFK University Medical Center are both honored and humbled to be awarded this NIH grant,” said Gregory J. Przybylski, M.D., MBA, chairman, Neuroscience Institute at JFK University Medical Center, and professor of Neurosurgery at the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine. “Our neuroscientists are working to unravel the complex mechanisms of the diseases of the brain and central nervous system. This project is a great example of how our innovation has the potential to deliver possible new approaches to treat brain diseases. Congratulations to Dr. Muneer for this remarkable achievement”.

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Scientists at the Hackensack Meridian Neuroscience Institute at JFK University Medical Center and other research centers have demonstrated that oxidative signaling is the central mechanism in alcohol-induced injury that leads to neurological and functional deficits. Remediation of accumulating oxidative radicals may serve as an effective strategy for preventing the progression of neurological damage in people with alcohol use disorder.

 

Oxidation is a chemical reaction (loss or gain of electrons) that occurs when a substance comes into contact with oxygen or another oxidizing substance, such as alcohol. Examples of oxidation are rust and the brown color on a cut apple. A peptide is a molecule that contains two or more amino acids. Peptides can engage with and activate various receptors in the body and may influence recovery.

“My research team and I will study the effect of the Nrf2 peptide in preclinical studies, including a group of tests that include cognitive and sensory-motor functions and psychological stress to better understand the effect of Nrf2 peptide in functional recovery from alcohol use disorder, and the findings from this study will have extensive clinical relevence,” said Dr. Muneer.

“The Neuroscience Institute at JFK University Medical Center has been in existence for over 30 years,” said Gay Holstein, PhD, translation research, Neuroscience Institute at JFK University Medical Center. “We are honored to receive this research grant and look forward to the findings.”

Alcohol is the most commonly used and potentially addictive substance in the United States. Alcohol dependence is a chronic and debilitating condition that causes significant medical complications and mortality. Chronic alcohol abuse results in neuronal degeneration and functional deficits in sensory-motor, memory, psychological, and cognitive functions. Alcohol abuse disorder is a highly prevalent and disabling disorder that is often present with other medical and mental-health conditions. Alcohol dependence, abuse and harmful use are all part of alcohol abuse disorder.

About Hackensack Meridian JFK University Medical Center

Serving residents of central New Jersey for more than 50 years, JFK University Medical Center offers a complete array of advanced services in its 498-bed facility located in Edison, N.J. With more than 1,000 affiliated physicians, this academic medical center offers a complete spectrum of advanced services including general and specialized surgery, cardiac care, maternity and pediatrics, oncology, imaging, breast center, sleep center, wound care, robotic surgery, emergency medicine, weight loss surgery, and radiology. It is home to the world-renowned JFK Neuroscience Institute that diagnoses and treats brain, spine and nervous system disorders. To learn more, visit hackensackmeridianhealth.org/JFKUMC.

SOURCE; Hackensack Meridian JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute

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