LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — UNLV is leading the way towards an eventual cure for Alzheimer’s with groundbreaking research.

They are working on understanding the disease and its risk factors, and they’ve made a big step forward.

A team of neuroscientists at UNLV has strengthened the connection between diabetes and Alzheimer’s, essentially laying the way for more research to build on this discovery.

“The number of Alzheimer’s cases continues to grow. It’s estimated to triple in the next 20-30 years,” Jeff Kinney, chair of UNLV’s Department of Brain Health said.

A startling number. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, six million Americans are living with the disease.

From 2000 to 2019, deaths from Alzheimer’s increased 145%.

Kinney, the chair of UNLV’s Department of Brain Health says it’s critical to continue research.

Two dozen scientists are working to accomplish that inside his lab at UNLV.

“Where we make the best progress is that we have several people with different skill sets and those get fused together,” Kinney added.

Now they are one step closer to establishing a stronger connection between diabetes and Alzheimer’s, by looking at elevated blood sugar.

“What we found is that if we established a good hyperglycemic state, we would start to see changes in the brain that are consistent with patients with Alzheimer’s disease,” Kinney added.

“A lot of this research is trying to determine how long someone is hyperglycemic, does it give rise to increasing the risk?”

Two years into a federal grant and working in tandem with other researchers, Kinney says they hope to answer that question because treatments for Alzheimer’s disease just delay the progression.

“We want to solve this,” he said.

Next Saturday is the Alzheimer’s association walk to end Alzheimer’s at the Las Vegas Ballpark.

There’s still time to sign up yourself or get a team together.

The money raised goes towards care, support, and research.