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Neurodegenerative Diseases

Our thoughts, actions, and memories—the essence of who we are and how we live—emanate from our brain. Protecting these essential aspects of our humanity stands among the foremost responsibilities of a health university.

Neurodegenerative Diseases - doctors examining lab equipment

At UTHealth, we believe serving our community means tackling the greatest health challenges of our time. It means applying our resources and the ingenuity of our scientists to overcome diseases that have eluded medical science thus far.

The reality faced by patients everywhere fuels our urgency; Alzheimer’s disease erases memories, Parkinson’s disease disrupts the most basic movements, and diseases like ALS and Huntington’s slowly erode the very ability to function.

New technologies in gene editing, stem cells, and other leading-edge fields offer the most powerful tools yet to develop treatments that will slow, halt, and reverse neurodegenerative disease. We place these techniques in the hands of world-renowned researchers and clinicians at UTHealth—amid vast collaborative opportunities in the Texas Medical Center—to meet the task head-on.

Furthermore, new therapies show promise in slowing the progress of these diseases, and we believe this is only the beginning. With the ongoing support of our philanthropic partners, we will continue to advance the research, recruit the scientists, and engage in the clinical trials that will bring this promise to reality. 

Your generosity to Many Faces. One Mission. can strengthen people and programs at UTHealth that advance our understanding and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, creating a beacon of hope for patients everywhere.

  • Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias

    We are developing blood tests to identify Alzheimer’s disease early, which will allow for quicker treatment that can lead to better outcomes. Our researchers are also implementing a plasma exchange program to remove toxic proteins in the brain and halt disease progression, and we are repurposing existing medications to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Furthermore, we are exploring the potential of stem cells to treat the disease; our team has shown that stem cell treatment may reverse memory loss in preclinical models, and we are working to determine if this method will prove effective in human volunteers.

  • Parkinson’s Disease 

    Our scientists are conducting the first FDA-approved clinical trial using stem cells to deactivate inflammation at the root of Parkinson’s disease. Initial results demonstrated the treatment was well-tolerated by patients, reduced markers of inflammation, and may have improved symptoms. Through the Movement Disorders and Neurodegenerative Diseases Clinic (UTMove), our team of specialists also provides comprehensive diagnosis, treatment, and symptom management for patients with movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease.

  • Huntington’s Disease 

    To serve patients with this inherited genetic disorder, UTHealth established the Huntington’s Disease Center of Excellence, one of 43 clinics nationwide—and the only one in Texas—designated a Center of Excellence by the Huntington’s Disease Society of America. A multidisciplinary center for those at risk or living with Huntington’s disease, it provides genetic counseling and testing, diagnosis, ongoing neurological and psychiatric care, and opportunities to participate in research. Our scientists are participating in several studies to slow the progression of the disease and treat specific symptoms.