- 24 October 2019
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
THURSDAY 24 October 2019, 1.00 PM
Auditorium, Level 6, Bancroft Building
Dementia In A Dish: Recreating the human brain in a dish to understand and treat dementia and related disorders?
Associate Professor Anthony White
Group Leader, Cellular and Molecular Neurodegeneration
QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute
Alzheimer disease (age-related dementia) is a growing international health issue due to the ageing population. Decades of research and over 400 clinical trials have failed to produce any effective disease modifying therapeutic treatments, and the last symptom-treating drug to reach the clinic was in 2003. The reasons for this failure are several fold including a focus on amyloid pathology, limited diagnostic criteria to identifying at-risk patients, and poor translational outcomes from animal trials. While there are no easy solutions, there is a recognition that human-based models of dementia are needed to improve understanding of patient-specific risk and pathology, and to improve translation of therapeutics. Our lab has recently focused on building new human brain cell-based platforms to understand dementia and related diseases, and to provide clinically relevant platforms for drug testing. These include 2D and 3D microglia-models, a blood-brain barrier model, olfactory cell models, and human brain organoids. Using these models, we have identified new disease and patient-specific pathological processes and potential drugs targets. These outcomes will hopefully improve clinical translation for treatment of dementia.
Anthony White obtained a PhD in neuroscience from Murdoch University in 1996, then undertook a post-doctoral position at University of Melbourne investigating Alzheimer’s and prion diseases. He worked at Imperial College of Medicine, UK, in 2001 studying immunotherapeutic approaches to prion diseases. He obtained an RD Wright Fellowship (2004-2008) and established a research group at the Department of Pathology, University of Melbourne investigating the role of biometals in neurodegeneration and development of metal-based drugs for treatment of these disorders. He received an ARC Future Fellowship in 2011, was recruited to QIMR Berghofer in 2016, and is currently an NHMRC Senior Research Fellow. His research has led to the development of first-in-class metal-drugs as a potential new therapeutic approach to treat motor neuron disease. He is currently developing new human patient-based models of neurodegeneration including microglia, 3D cultures, and organoids to improve translational outcomes for neurotherapeutics.