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Female scientist dreams of finding medicine to treat Alzheimer’s

Female scientist dreams of finding medicine to treat Alzheimer’s

VietNamNet Bridge – Dr Tran Thi Phuong Thao from the Hanoi University of Pharmacy is synthetizing new Glutaminyl cyclase enzyme-inhibiting derivatives to treat one of the causes of Alzheimer’s.


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Dr Tran Thi Phuong Thao



Thao is a well known name. In 2017, she received the L’Oreal National Fellowship for Women in Science for her contributions to community health by seeking new medicinal materials for treatment of Alzheimer’s.

Thao said she needs money to continue her research on Alzheimer’s. 

The number of Alzheimer patients has been increasing in Vietnam and globally. Meanwhile, the drugs available can only treat symptoms, i.e. the drugs that aim to slow down the process of creating amyloid plaques (amyloid beta – Aβ) – one of the two main “suspects” that cause Alzheimer ‘s disease. 

Thao wants to find the substances which can attack one of the causes to cure the disease to the every root.

The research Thao is pursuing is synthetizing the substances that inhibit Glutaminyl cyclace (QC), the enzyme in the human body involved in disease formation. If successful, this drug can treat one of the causes of Alzheimer’s.

The research Thao is pursuing is synthetizing the substances that inhibit Glutaminyl cyclace (QC), the enzyme in the human body involved in disease formation. If successful, this drug can treat one of the causes of Alzheimer’s.

In 2015, after finishing the PhD training course in South Korea, Thao came back to Vietnam and continued research that she began pursuing when she was a PhD student. 

As the material facilities in Vietnam remain poor, she has to try to design the experiments which can be implemented in Vietnam’s conditions. In many cases, she has to seek assistance from domestic and foreign units.

When carrying out the research, Thao does not think she must succeed. “I just think that if the substances I can create still cannot be used in treatment, the research will still be useful for me and colleagues,” she said.

These substances have not yet been synthesized in the world, researched or tried in biological activity in the same direction as Thao’s.

Asked about her daily schedule, Thao said she has to spend time teaching, instructing students’ research and taking care of her family. 

“I’ve never fed up carrying out research. I just don’t have time to realize all my ideas,” she said.

For Thao and other young scientists in Vietnam, lacking money to conduct experiments is the biggest problem. Like other women, Thao has to arrange her time for daily work, so that she can spend time on research and her family as well.

Thao is author and co-author of 14 articles published in SCI journals, the co-author of 13 articles on national and international journals, and co-owner of three patents.

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