News Release

Wall awarded $385,000 grant to study amyloidosis treatment options

Grant and Award Announcement

University of Tennessee Health Science Center

Dr. Jonathan Wall

image: Dr. Jonathan Wall view more 

Credit: UTHSC

Memphis, Tenn. (October 6, 2020) - Jonathan Wall, PhD, professor in the University of Tennessee Health Science Center's Graduate School of Medicine in Knoxville and director of the Amyloidosis and Cancer Theranostics, has been awarded a two-year grant totaling $385,000 from the National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health to study new treatments for systemic amyloidosis.

"Our studies will focus on the development and characterization of engineered immune cells (macrophages) that are capable of enhanced destruction of amyloid due to the expression of a synthetic amyloid-reactive receptor," Dr. Wall said. "This receptor will be constructed in the laboratory and introduced into the cells, which will then be tested for their ability to destroy amyloid deposits. Current therapies are directed toward decreasing the amount of precursor protein that is available for amyloid formation, thereby slowing the disease progression. However, our team has several programs that focus on developing ways to remove the toxic amyloid deposits from the affected organs."

The project is titled, "Development of chimeric antigen receptor-expressing macrophages for enhanced phagocytosis of systemic amyloid." Typically, systemic amyloidosis develops when amyloid fibrils, or combined antibody-related light chain proteins that deposit in organs, such as the heart, kidney, and peripheral nerves. This can occur in more than 30 different disorders and may cause severe organ failure. Because amyloid is resistant to natural clearance, treatment for the diseases generally involves blocking production of the proteins that cause amyloid. However, clearance of tissue amyloid has now become a major goal of many of the novel therapeutics being developed for these patients.

In other amyloid-related research, Dr. Wall also serves as the interim chief scientific officer for Attralus, Inc., a startup company launched through a license with the UT Research Foundation, which recently received $25 million to work on transformative medicines for systemic amyloidosis patients.


As Tennessee's only public, statewide, academic health system, the mission of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center is to bring the benefits of the health sciences to the achievement and maintenance of human health through education, research, clinical care, and public service, with a focus on the citizens of Tennessee and the region. The main campus in Memphis includes six colleges: Dentistry, Graduate Health Sciences, Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy. UTHSC also educates and trains medicine, pharmacy, and/or health professions students, as well as medical residents and fellows, at major sites in Knoxville, Chattanooga and Nashville. For more information, visit Find us on Facebook:, on Twitter: and on Instagram:

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.