2003 Pilot Study Grants

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The Parkinson Alliance is participating in a two-year $4.4 million research initiative, started in 2001 and led by The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, to produce a cell line specifically designed to advance the study and treatment of Parkinson’s disease. Once developed, the cell line will be made available to Parkinson’s researchers worldwide.

The Parkinson Alliance is also proud to be taking part in an unprecedented collaboration with the NIH and private Parkinson’s organizations to jointly fund a program of $11 million in Parkinson’s disease research grants. Since 2001 the R21 Fast Track Grant Program awarded 35 two-year grants making it the largest initiative that NIH has ever undertaken in the history of Parkinson’s disease research.

Funding from The Parkinson Alliance helped to finance the following Parkinson's research. Grantees were selected by scientific review committees of participating organizations. Abstracts and reports will be posted, when available.

1. Grant to: Dr. Lee He-Jin
Project Title: Role of autophagic lysosomal pathway in the degradation of alpha synuclein aggregates.

The protein alpha synuclein is important for the integrity and normal functioning of the dopamine cells in the substantia nigra. It is believed that if molecules of alpha synuclein are mis-shapen can become toxic, poisonous, to the cell. Such mis-shapen molecules may be removed by a "clearing" system in the cell that centers on a group of particles called lysosomes. It is believed that if this "clearing" system isn’t working properly then mis-shapen aggregates of alpha syncuclein accumulate and "poison" the cell. This study will look at the ability of the lysosomes to clear such mis-shapen aggregates of alpha synuclein in the tan.

2. Grant to: Mona J. Thiruchelvam, University of Rochester
Project Title: Neonatal Pesticide Exposure and Parkinson's Disease

The goal of this proposal is to determine whether disruptions of antioxidant defense systems underlie both the permanent neurotoxicity arising from development exposure to the herbicide paraquat and the fungicide maneb alone and in combination and the enhanced vulnerability following adult re-challenges with these pesticides. Our evidence for progressive effects following developmental exposures to date relies on behavioral endpoints coupled with our observations that permanent reductions in locomotor activity have always occurred in conjunction with nigral TH neuron loss in previous studies as well as the increased vulnerability of adults re-challenged with pesticides.

 

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