News from the Department of Pharmacy

Greta Hultqvist receives SEK 1M from the Alzheimer's Foundation


Greta Hultqvist, Associate Professor and researcher in Protein drug design, receives a SEK 1 million grant from the Alzheimer's Foundation. "My goal is for my research to contribute to future treatments, and with new protein drugs we can make a big impact," says Greta Hultqvist.

Greta Hultqvist, Associate Professor, Uppsala University
Greta Hultqvist, Associate Professor, Uppsala University

The World Health Organization WHO classifies dementia as one of the world's biggest health problems. Over 55 million people are affected and the number is expected to have tripled by the year 2050. The Alzheimer's Foundation provides financial support for research aimed at preventing and combating dementia, and is now allocating SEK 1 million to Greta Hultqvist, Associate Professor at the Department of Pharmacy.

“This grant that makes me both proud and happy. The Alzheimer's Foundation was the first organisation that dared to invest in me when I was a young postdoc, and has continued to support me for many years. It gives me security to dig deeper into my research and is essential for me to be able to move on,” says Greta Hultqvist.

During Alzheimer's disease, the amyloid beta protein aggregates into clumps that damage the brain's nerve cells and cause impaired memory. Healthcare still lacks effective treatments, but in 2021 Greta Hultqvist presented a specially designed antibody that binds at least 40 times stronger to the harmful aggregates than previously known antibodies. In addition, the new antibody binds to the smallest clumps, by many experts considered to be the most dangerous.

Greta Hultqvist's research“Other antibodies that are tested on patients bind relatively strongly to larger clumps, but hardly at all to the small clumps that are equally toxic and more mobile. This is due to an excessive distance between the two arms of the antibody that it uses to it bind aggregates. Thus, we have developed a new antibody format with shorter distance between the arms, and our results are very promising,” says Greta Hultqvist.

Already in autumn 2020, the research team launched a new protein transporter with the capacity to take the peptide hormone somatostatin into the brain, where it activates the body's breakdown of amyloid beta, which in turn stop and reverse the development of Alzheimer's disease in mice.

“My goal is for my research to contribute to future treatments. With new protein drugs, I am convinced that we can increase the breakdown of amyloid-beta. We won't be able to reverse the disease but we can make sure that it doesn't get worse. If detected in time, it can make a big difference.”


  • 44 million people worldwide are estimated to live with Alzheimer's disease.
  • Finland is most severely affected, Sweden is in seventeenth place and just over 110,000 diagnosed cases.
  • Neurodegenerative diseases are currently the fastest growing cause of death globally with an acute need for effective treatments.



Greta Hultqvist, Associate Professor
Department of Pharmacy

text: Magnus Alsne, Alzheimer's Foundation, photo: private

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Last modified: 2023-09-12