Message From the President

I bring mixed news from the BIO 2005 meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. On the positive side, I witnessed the great creative genius that is the hope of our world in the creative technologies and spirit of many of the entrepreneurial companies. Some brought innovative therapeutic ideas to the diseases of concern to FRIDA. I was pleased to see the development of new antibiotics that should prove less susceptible to resistance as well as to a variety of diagnostic techniques. I was also pleased to see new vaccines being developed.

On the other hand, much of the pharmaceutical industry remains focused on treatment of symptoms rather than on investigating and treating the causes of chronic disease. Furthermore, while chronic infection has yet to be proven to be the cause of illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease, large pharmaceuticals presenting at the BIO 2005 meeting appear close-minded to investing in the research required to identify the underlying cause of this disease. They seem more focused on developing therapies that would be required for the life of the patient. The cynical mind might suspect that this approach is based on long-term sales considerations. Until a more open-minded approach is adopted, progress toward true cures will be impeded by inadequate funding.

J. Todd Abrams, PhD
President of FRIDA

FRIDA-Supported Investigators Publish Important New Paper on Rheumatoid Arthritis

Researchers directed by Dr. David Naor (The Lautenberg Center for General and Tumor Immunology, Hebrew University, Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem, Israel) have made a major observation in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. They have discovered that in an animal model that a new protein complex may contribute to the inflammatory process so associated with this devastating chronic disease. For more information about this work, please go to the “About Diseases of Aging” page.

FRIDA-Supported Research Group Receives Grant From Alzheimer’s Association

After 10 years of applications and repeated attempts, Dr. Brian J. Balin has proved that persistence pays off as his laboratory’s animal model studies have received a 3-year grant from the Alzheimer’s Association. Congratulations to Dr. Balin and his group.

In a related story, Dr. Balin’s group is collaborating with a group at the University of Medicine and Dentistry, New Jersey, Osteopathic School to conduct a large clinical trial to directly examine whether the disease course of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease can be altered by exposure to appropriate antibiotics. FRIDA wishes these studies good luck.

A Canadian research group recently published a paper concluding that antibiotics can improve cognitive function in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. However, because tests to determine presence of C. pneumoniae in these patients are inconsistent, this group was unable to conclude that the antibiotic worked by reducing C. pneumoniae infection. Better diagnostic tests and further research is appropriate; however, these findings are certainly consistent with the hypothesis that bacterial infection contributes to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

For more information about the role infection may play in the development of Alzheimer’s disease, please go to the “About Diseases of Aging” page.

FRIDA-Related Research Supports Role of Infection in Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma

A paper related to the cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL) research FRIDA has supported found that a Chlamydia species related to the one reported by the Dermatology group at Allegheny University (now Drexel). FRIDA is very encouraged that the basic hypothesis “that chronic infection leads to the development of CTCL” is gaining support.

FRIDA hopes all of these findings lead to a redoubling of efforts to further these exciting lines of investigation.