Preman Singh, MD, of Mankato Clinic Internal Medicine, has accepted an invitation to conduct research on Alzheimer’s disease at Oxford University, his Alma Mater. He had earlier earned a Master’s degree in experimental and translational therapeutics from St. Catherine’s College, Oxford University, and will carry out his upcoming Alzheimer’s work in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics as a member of Balliol College, Oxford University.
“I am honored to have been selected by this internationally renowned center to fight this devastating disease. Alzheimer’s is projected to become an unsustainable and unaffordable healthcare burden in just a few years,” Dr. Singh said.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 2019 saw an estimated 5.8 million Americans of all ages living with Alzheimer’s disease for a total national cost of care of $290 billion. Barring a medical breakthrough, the number of Americans age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s may triple from 5.6 million to 13.8 million by 2050.
Alzheimer’s is a neurodegenerative disease. A few years ago, Dr. Singh studied neurodegenerative diseases with a team in Canada. They discovered genetic mutations which trigger the abnormal processing of a normal brain protein called presenilin. In its normal form, presenilin is crucial for brain development. In its abnormal, mutated form, presenilin forms a harmful protein called amyloid. The amount of amyloid found in brains correlates with the severity of Alzheimer’s. Dr. Singh was asked to continue this research by Oxford University.
“The goal of numerous research teams around the world is to halt the production of amyloid which could stop the development of late-onset and familial Alzheimer’s in people,” Dr. Singh said.
Current medications for Alzheimer’s do not target this protein. Deciphering the processing of amyloid and related proteins is expected to have far-reaching impacts for Alzheimer’s and other degenerative diseases including Parkinson’s, several types of dementias, eye disease that causes blindness and even diabetes.
Dr. Singh joined Mankato Clinic in 2013 and will continue seeing patients until the end of September. He is heading to Oxford University in England in October.