Filiano Wins 2022 Hartwell Biomedical Research Award

Dr. Anthony Filiano, Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery at Duke University School of Medicine, is one of ten recipients of the 2022 Hartwell Individual Biomedical Research Award. Filiano will receive $100,000 annually for the next three years for his project “Reviving Brain Myelination as a Curative Therapy for Leukodystrophy.”

Leukodystrophy refers to a series of devastating childhood diseases in which the white matter (myelin sheath) of the brain and spinal cord is destroyed. Filiano’s research focuses on Krabbe disease, which kills between the ages of 2 and his 3rd year. There is currently no cure.

Filiano’s Hartwell Foundation Award supports research that seeks to identify toxic molecules in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord, that may contribute to Krabbe disease.

“Comprehensive CSF analysis has not been performed in Krabbe disease,” said Filiano. “Researchers in this field have only recently started thinking about how components of CSF may contribute to disease progression.”

In addition, this study seeks to determine whether rejuvenation of toxic CSF promotes myelin sheath repair using a novel cell therapy developed by Filiano.

If successful, Filiano’s research could pave the way for developing a treatment for Krabbe disease.

“With support from the Hartwell Foundation, I will use my expertise as a neuroimmunologist to develop new cell therapies for children to help them grow and reach their full potential. You can do it,’ he said.

Duke University has been named one of the Hartwell Foundation’s Top 10 Centers of Biomedical Excellence each year since 2006. and cutting-edge biomedical research that could benefit children’s health.

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