Hackensack Meridian Neuroscience Institute awarded NIH grant to study approach to treating alcohol abuse

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, awarded a major research grant to Hackensack Meridian Neuroscience Institute at JFK University Medical Center, according to a Thursday announcement.

The two-year award of $464,887 will be used to study a novel approach to treat damage to the central nervous system from chronic alcohol abuse, in a project entitled “Peptide therapy for alcohol-induced central nervous system injury.”

Proposed by Mohammed Abdul Muneer, research scientist & principal investigator, the project hypothesizes that the neuroinflammation, neurodegeneration and cognitive deficits that result from alcohol-induced oxidative damage to neurons in the brain can be repaired by activating the antioxidant signaling Nrf2 (nuclear factor E2-related factor 2) pathway using a small Nrf2 activator III peptide, referred to as Nrf2 peptide.

“We at the Hackensack Meridian Neuroscience Institute at JFK University Medical Center are both honored and humbled to be awarded this NIH grant,” Dr. Gregory Przybylski, chairman, Neuroscience Institute at JFK University Medical Center, and professor of neurosurgery at the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine, said.

“Our neuroscientists are working to unravel the complex mechanisms of the diseases of the brain and central nervous system. This project is a great example of how our innovation has the potential to deliver possible new approaches to treat brain diseases. Congratulations to Dr. Muneer for this remarkable achievement.”

“My research team and I will study the effect of the Nrf2 peptide in preclinical studies,
including a group of tests that include cognitive and sensory-motor functions and psychological stress to better understand the effect of Nrf2 peptide in functional recovery from alcohol use disorder, and the findings from this study will have extensive clinical relevance,” Muneer said.

Alcohol is the most commonly used and potentially addictive substance in the U.S. Alcohol dependence is a chronic and debilitating condition that causes significant medical complications and mortality. Chronic alcohol abuse results in neuronal degeneration and functional deficits in sensory-motor, memory, psychological and cognitive functions. Alcohol abuse disorder is a highly prevalent and disabling disorder that is often present with other medical and mental-health conditions. Alcohol dependence, abuse and harmful use are all part of alcohol abuse disorder.