Tuesday, July 1, 2003

Harvard Researchers to Investigate Protein Build Up in Brain

CHICAGO (January 7, 2003) - As part of its ongoing commitment to the Alzheimer's Association, Chicago based insurer Bankers Life and Casualty Company is sponsoring the Ronald Reagan Institute grant that may offer promising new insights into treatment strategies for Alzheimer's Disease which affects approximately four million Americans.

The research will isolate and study beta-amyloid autoreactive T cell responses that are characteristic of the disease. Because accumulations of the protein fragment beta amyloid is a pathological hallmark of the Alzheimer brain, many experts believe that preventing production or aggregation of beta-amyloid may offer promising treatment strategies.

While beta amyloid build up is not proven to be the cause of Alzheimer's Disease, most researchers agree it contributes to disruption of thinking. The research will be conducted over two years at Harvard Medical School by Alon Monsonego, PhD.

According to the Alzheimer's Association, one in 10 Americans over 65 and nearly half of Americans over 85 have Alzheimer's Disease. "We are very pleased Bankers Life and Casualty Company stepped forward to take sole responsibility for the funding of this important research," said Sheldon Goldberg, president and CEO of the Alzheimer's Association. "The support of companies like Bankers is critical to furthering research that will provide new insights into Alzheimer's and ultimately lead to the eradication of the disease."

Ed Berube, Bankers' president and CEO said, "Bankers has been focusing on serving the needs of seniors for more than 30 years. We're committed to making a difference, not just by insuring their future, but by helping to assure it. That's why Bankers will continue to support the Alzheimer's Association for as long as it takes to win the battle against Alzheimer's disease."

Bankers is one of the largest and most respected insurance companies in the United States focused exclusively on the needs of senior Americans, and has partnered with the Alzheimer's Association on a number of fundraising projects including the Annual Rita Hayworth Gala.

Bankers serves the needs of seniors through a broad portfolio of quality, competitive insurance products including long term care, life, annuities and Medicare supplement; a national sales force of professionally trained career agents; and a dedicated group of long tenured, highly capable home office employees.

The Alzheimer's Association, a national network of chapters, is the largest national voluntary health organization dedicated to advancing Alzheimer's research and helping those affected by the disease. Having awarded $136 million in research grants, the Association ranks as the top private funder of research into the causes, treatments, and prevention of Alzheimer's disease. The Association also provides education and support for people diagnosed with the condition, their families, and caregivers.

Contact: Linda Heacox


Minor modifications may have been made to the above since its original release, to ensure accuracy and currency of information.