Calls Now Open

2024 ADDF-Harrington + 2025 Harrington Scholar-Innovator Programs

You've just added:

Harrington Discovery Institute’s Pursuit of Performance Medicine

Posted on May 03, 2024 in Center for Brain Health Medicines

In the competitive landscape of healthcare innovation, Harrington Discovery Institute emerges as a strategic leader, committed to advancing solutions in performance medicine. With a mission centered on addressing unmet therapeutic needs, Harrington serves as a catalyst for translating cutting-edge scientific discoveries into medical advancements for the benefit of society.

Scientific literature is filled with evidence of novel molecules generated during exercise that hold promise for therapeutic intervention. Compounds like lactoyl phenylalanine (Lac-Phe) for diabetes, BDNF for Parkinson’s, Irisin for Alzheimer’s, and nitric oxide to protect brain, heart and muscle have been the focus of emerging research. Understanding the intricate science behind exercise—its duration, intensity, and frequency—presents a rich opportunity to transform healthcare.

Harrington Scholar Christiane Wrann, DVM, PhD, from Massachusetts General Hospital, is a 2021 ADDF-Harrington Scholar, who received funding and drug development guidance from Harrington to help advance her research towards potential new therapies for patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

Specifically, Dr. Wrann and her team have isolated a hormone called irisin that is excreted during exercise, which they have shown is a primary driver of the benefits of exercise on the brain. They have also shown in mice that genetic deletion of irisin impairs cognitive function, while its elevation improves cognition and decreases brain inflammation.

Cardiologist, Anthony Rosenzweig, MD from the University of Michigan, is a 2023 Harrington Scholar-Innovator who is working on novel exercise-inspired targets to promote heart health. Curious to deeply understand what makes hearts healthy, he and his team conducted genomic studies to compare exercised healthy hearts and diseased hearts of mouse models. Through their discoveries, they have identified what they believe to be a druggable target, which can improve heart function.

In another example, Dr. Jonathan Stamler, president of Harrington Discovery Institute, and his team have developed a nitric oxide exercise monitor, the first wearable and non-invasive device to monitor active nitric oxide levels. Many forms of nitric oxide exist in the body, but not all forms are equal. Active nitric oxide (in this context) refers to the form of nitric oxide released from red blood cells to dilate small blood vessels, controlling the supply of oxygen. Without active nitric oxide oxygen can’t be sufficiently delivered to organs such as the brain, heart, and muscle tissue.

A deeper dive into novel molecules generated during exercise has helped to expand the definition of performance medicine well beyond sports medicine, which has typically focused on injury prevention and bone health.

Performance medicine is still an emerging clinical practice that offers significant potential. Harrington Discovery Institute will continue to lead the charge in the discovery and development of novel exercise-inspired therapeutics. Through its support of breakthrough science across leading academic medical centers globally, Harrington is well-positioned to maximize the transformative impact of performance medicine.

We have updated our Online Services Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. See our Cookies Notice for information concerning our use of cookies and similar technologies. By using this website or clicking “I ACCEPT”, you consent to our Online Services Terms of Use.