UA’s Dr. Roberta Diaz Brinton Awarded the Prestigious 2017 Melvin R. Goodes Prize for Excellence in Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery

Sep 14, 2017

Roberta Diaz Brinton, PhD, today received the 2017 Melvin R. Goodes Prize for Excellence in Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery for her groundbreaking research to develop precision therapeutics to delay, treat – and potentially cure – Alzheimer’s disease.

The prize, awarded by the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF), is the first to recognize researchers developing treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

Dr. Brinton is the inaugural director of the Center for Innovation in Brain Science at the University of Arizona Health Sciences and specializes in the bioenergetic and regenerative systems of the brain. In addition, she serves as professor of pharmacology and neurology at the UA College of Medicine – Tucson.

The Goodes Prize recognizes the efforts of drug discovery researchers who often receive little recognition but make critical contributions toward the development of effective treatments and a cure for Alzheimer's disease. A selection committee composed of seven leading scientists, including previous winners of the Goodes prize, nominate candidates for consideration and choose the awardee based on past achievements and proposed future research.

The prize includes a $150,000 award and will support Dr. Brinton’s therapeutic development of allopregnanolone. Dr. Brinton’s research has demonstrated that allopregnanolone, a steroid found in the brain that promotes neurogenesis, the regeneration of new brain cells, can restore cognitive function and reduce Alzheimer’s pathology in the brain.

She now will lead a larger clinical trial to evaluate the biological effect of allopregnanolone dosing thanks to a recent $450,000 award from the ADDF that will support the manufacture of allopregnanolone for Dr. Brinton’s study

“Dr. Brinton is among the most prominent researchers working on Alzheimer’s today,” said Howard Fillit, MD, founding executive director and chief scientific officer of the ADDF. “Her research output, including her development of what could become the first regenerative therapy for Alzheimer’s, is impressive. I have known Robbie for many years and am pleased that the Committee chose to honor her immense contribution to our field with the third annual Goodes Prize.”

Dr. Brinton’s research goal is precision therapeutics to delay, treat and cure Alzheimer's disease. In addition to the trial studying allopregnanolone and neurogenesis, her research is driving a second trial examining PhytoSERMs as a potential therapy to manage age-related cognitive decline and menopausal symptoms in women at risk for Alzheimer’s.

“The ADDF Goodes Prize recognition of our innovative therapeutic approach is deeply gratifying. I am honored to be among those who continue the legacy of Melvin and Nancy Goodes to cure Alzheimer’s disease and am confident that together we will achieve the goal,” said Dr. Brinton.

About the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation

Founded in 1998 by Leonard A. Lauder and Ronald S. Lauder, the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) is the only philanthropy solely focused on accelerating the development of drugs to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease. Its venture philanthropy approach and scientific expertise allows the ADDF to support the most promising ideas around the world. And 100 percent of every donation funds drug research programs. To learn more, visit http://www.alzdiscovery.org.

About the Goodes Prize

The Melvin R. Goodes Prize is named in honor of the courage, legacy and research advocacy of Mr. Goodes, former Warner-Lambert CEO and chairman and honorary member of the ADDF’s Board of Governors. The Goodes Prize was created thanks to the generosity of Mr. Goodes and his wife, Nancy, who also is on the ADDF’s Board. The Goodes Family Foundation committed $750,000 to fund the Goodes Prizes for 10 years, and the ADDF matched that contribution. Each year, the Goodes Prizes is awarded to a professionally active researcher in academia or industry who has pursued novel research and made a significant and lasting impact in Alzheimer’s drug discovery. A Selection Committee that includes leaders in the field nominates candidates for consideration and chooses a winner based on past achievements and proposed future research.

About the University of Arizona Health Sciences

The University of Arizona Health Sciences is the statewide leader in biomedical research and health professions training. The UA Health Sciences includes the UA Colleges of Medicine (Phoenix and Tucson), Nursing, Pharmacy and Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, with main campus locations in Tucson and the growing Phoenix Biomedical Campus in downtown Phoenix. From these vantage points, the UA Health Sciences reaches across the state of Arizona and the greater Southwest to provide cutting-edge health education, research, patient care and community outreach services. A major economic engine, the UA Health Sciences employs almost 5,000 people, has nearly 1,000 faculty members and garners more than $126 million in research grants and contracts annually. For more information: uahs.arizona.edu (Follow us: Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | LinkedIn)

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