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Biomedical Engineering

We are well known for our work on studying changes in the proteome of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Going back a number of years, we were involved in the development of the first antemortem diagnostic test for Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). CJD is one of a group of prion diseases (which includes "Mad Cow disease") and in humans, this disease was previously only definitively diagnosed upon autopsy. We helped identify a protein marker in cerebrospinal fluid called 14-3-3 that is used to help evaluate patients suspected of having prion disease. More recently, we identified a panel of 23 protein spots that are indicative of the presence of Alzheimer's disease (another disease that is diagnosed definitely only upon autopsy). By studying a large group of known Alzheimer cases and other cases, we found a panel of markers that seems effective in separating these two groups. The hope is that this information can be used to better identify Alzheimer patients when they are alive. We are working to develop technology that will allow this test to be standardized and easy to use by a variety of laboratories.

More recently, in collaboration with our clinical partners at the Weill Cornell Medical Center, we have been studying CSF in subjects undergoing a new immunotherapy for Alzheimer's disease. The concept is to help the body treat Alzheimer's disease by providing them with antibodies that will reverse the cause of the disease.

One of the important limitations in the development of medicines is to have a good understanding of how the medicine crosses the blood-brain barrier. We have also been working to develop and improve on available blood-brain barrier models by studying material and cell characteristics.

2D Gel


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