Jaan-Olle Andressoo strives to find novel therapeutic opportunities for treating two common, currently incurable, neurodegenerative diseases – Parkinson and Alzheimer: “I first hope to generate better genetic models for the diseases. Then, by enhancing one or more brain pathways, using novel tools developed by my team, I hope to establish proof of concept for a new treatment principle for the diseases.”

Enhancing the brain’s physiological processes is one way to find treatments. For example, Andressoo is interested in the therapeutic potential of neurotrophic factors (NTFs). These are small, secreted proteins that support neuronal survival and function. Injection of various NTFs has been (and is currently being) tested in clinical trials as treatments for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. But efficacy is low and variable, and several problems are unresolved. One is that NTFs injected into the brain lead to artificially high, but temporarily non-physiological chemical gradients in the brain, which does not support restoration of original neuronal connections.

“I hypothesize that enhancing the brain’s own NTF production, along with controlled enhancement of other relevant pathways, may result in better treatment outcomes. We have proof of concept data. And thanks to the Young Investigator grant from the Center of Innovative Medicine at Karolinska Institutet, we’re now expanding the concept to other genes and pathways – with primary focus on Alzheimer disease.”

Andressoo also obtained a European Research Council Consolidator grant for focusing on Parkinson disease treatment. These studies are primarily conducted at his affiliation site in Finland.

Andressoo is an associate professor in cell and tissue engineering at the University of Tampere, Finland and principal investigator in the Institute of Biotechnology at the University of Helsinki. As a recipient of the CIMED Young Investigator grant, he is affiliated with Karolinska Institutet’s Division of Neurogeriatrics.

Please see the following link for more information:

Jaan-Olle Andressoo lab at the Institute of Biotechnology University of Helsinki, Finland – in the process of setting up his lab at the Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society (NVS), KI