“Right here in Spokane, Washington, we could potentially be making the drug to give to people with ALS that could stop their complications altogether.”
Those are the words of Travis Denton, a medicinal chemist in the WSU College of Pharmacy. Denton is trying to find a drug that could repair the brain’s “house-cleaning function” and help those suffering from ALS, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and more.
Denton (left) is working with Dr. Kenneth Hensley of the University of Toledo to look at the brain’s autophagy process – the process that cleans old or damaged particles and protein from brain cells (the “house-cleaning function”). Denton received $446,233 over three years from the National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke to help fund his study and hopeful development of a new drug.
The autophagy process doesn’t work properly for those suffering from ALS, Alzheimer’s and other brain maladies. Hensley has found a new way to activate the autophagy process, and he and Denton will conduct studies to hopefully discover ways it can work in the brain.
This is another example of researches on our campus solving problems and addressing complex health issues in our society.