ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville School of Pharmacy researchers have been awarded a five-year $2.65 million grant for Alzheimer’s research.

The federal grant comes from the National Institutes of Health. The goal, according to principal investigator Dr. Ken Witt, is to develop a drug that would allow patients to retain memory for three months to a year.

“(The drug) will help individuals suffering from this essentially horrible disease to enhance their learning and memory,” Witt says. “And potentially reduce the progression of the disease.”

A news release from SIUE states the initial investigations by the research team began more than 10 years ago. The program has now reached a critical point as it begins a period of developing, testing and retesting various drug candidates in a series of early stage models.

Witt hopes the new drug might let people with Alzheimer’s keep their memory and functional activities five to 10 years longer than current drugs allow.

He says they’re still in the drug discovery phase of this study and not yet ready for clinical trials.

(TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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