Dr. Sulzer will investigate the role that inflammation, caused by an immune response, plays in causing the death of neurons in Parkinson's. Scientists already know that inflammation occurs in areas of the brain affected by Parkinson's disease and suspect that it may trigger cell death. By taking a fresh approach to understanding how inflammation is initiated, Dr. Sulzer's work may yield a better understanding of how Parkinson's develops, pointing toward new ways of treating the disease.
Dr. Surmeier will explore the idea that areas of the brain affected by Parkinson's, some of which have not been traditionally studied, may share a common mechanism that contributes to the death of neurons. He hypothesizes that this mechanism may involve excess levels of calcium inside cells. If Dr. Surmeier's high risk approach is on target, he says it may be very easy to identify a treatment that could concurrently ease the motor and nonmotor symptoms of Parkinson's, something that is not feasible with current therapies. One possibility includes isradipine, a medication already on the market for high blood pressure.
Dr. Lee, of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, noted, "With PDF's help, we will be able to continue our research, the ultimate goal of which is to expand the 'pipeline' of promising compounds for novel Parkinson's therapies."
PDF Executive Director, Robin Anthony Elliott said of the grants, "Our board of directors and my colleagues at PDF were deeply affected by how the loss of one family foundation and its millions of dollars of support can have such a direct and catastrophic effect upon Parkinson's disease research. We are not only proud to support some of the talented scientists left in the wake of this event, but also believe that we owe this type of commitment to the nearly one million people in the US
|Contact: Melissa Barry|
Parkinson's Disease Foundation