UWL professors conducting research that could lead to treatment for age-related illnesses including Alzheimer’s

UWL Professor Jennifer Klein plans to apply for a grant from the National Institutes of Health in the next month. The federal grant is expected to be for $500,000.

University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Professor Dr. Jennifer Klein remembers losing her grandmother to Alzheimer’s disease. Now, she’s concerned about her father coming down with the illness.

“Really worried about it in my dad now that he’s turned 70,” said Klein.

Klein and UWL Exercise and Sport Science Professor Dr. Daniel Freidenreich are conducting research that could lead to a new therapeutic to fight age-related degenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s.

The potential treatment involves harnessing the benefits of exercise at the molecular level in the form of a therapeutic.

Right now, Klein and Freidenreich are searching for research subjects to study the impact of exercise on cells and how this impact can be used to create a therapeutic.
The professors are having some trouble finding research subjects over the age of 50, according to Klein.
“If somebody is an exerciser a few times a week and you’re pretty healthy we’d love to enroll you in our trial,” added Klein.
She also said the research centers on finding out which molecules could be used for the therapeutic. This involves the study of extra-cellular vesicles, or what Klein calls “bubbles”, of vital cellular information.
“We are very interested to know what tiny molecules are encapsulated in those bubbles,” said Klein.
Klein added that the study of extra-cellular vesicles could also lead to a potential cure for age-related illnesses, including Alzheimer’s.
“We think some of them hold a potential cure for age-related degenerative disorders like muscle-wasting which we call sarcopenia or like Alzheimer’s,” said Klein.
After seeing how quickly MRNA vaccines for Covid-19 were distributed globally, Klein is hopeful that a new therapeutic for age-related degenerative disorders could be mobilized a short time after clinical trials.
“I think it’s just figuring out what the therapeutic is going to be,” added Klein.