Cincinnati, (OH) - The International Rett Syndrome Foundation (IRSF) announced today that it will award an additional $1.5M in research grants, bringing the 2010 total to $2.15 million for innovative basic and translational research that moves treatments for Rett syndrome a step closer to the clinic. IRSF is the world's largest private source of Rett syndrome research funding and with the addition of these awards the Foundation has cumulatively provided $23 million for Rett syndrome research.
Rett syndrome is an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), characterized by distinguishing symptoms which begin to manifest in early childhood resulting in seriously debilitating neurological impairments in those affected. October 4th 2010 will mark 11 years since the landmark discovery, made in the laboratory of Dr. Huda Y. Zoghbi, that a single gene, MECP2, is responsible for the majority of cases of Rett syndrome. Since that time the pace of research has been rapid, resulting in recent work demonstrating genetic reversibility of the disease in mice. This year, regular research grant awards will be provided to the following exceptional scientific programs to further advance our understanding of the underlying causes of Rett syndrome:
Dr. Huda Zoghbi whose lab discovered the gene responsible for Rett syndrome commented on the caliber of this year's awardees saying, "I am thrilled to learn that Dr. Carla Shatz will examine visual system plasticity in a mouse model of Rett syndrome. It is important to test this hypothesis given the role of MHC Class I proteins in activity-dependent plasticity during critical developmental periods. Beyond testing this hypothesis, bringing Carla into the Rett field is a huge boost to the neurobiological studies on this disorder." Dr. Shatz was formerly President of the prestigious Society for Neuroscience. This award is made in honor of Grace Reddington.
IRSF also awarded several post-doctoral fellowship training awards that will provide support for outstanding young investigators for the following important scientific projects:
Dr. Katheryn Elibri-Frame President of the newly launched International Foundation for CDKL5 Research (IFCR) commented on the partnership award to Dr. Amendola saying, "Our shared goals and research endeavors will benefit children affected by both CDKL5 and Rett syndrome and we are proud to partner with IRSF in co-funding this project. Finding a cure is our top priority and this is a critical step forward."
New Translational Research Awards Announced
In addition to the regular research awards, IRSF recently launched "Research to Reality" an aggressive fundraising campaign spearheaded by IRSF's HeART and ANGEL grant awards which provide funding for drug discovery, development and testing. The first HeART grant awards will provide seed funding for the following early stage drug discovery programs:
Earlier this year, IRSF announced funding of the first ANGEL award totaling $446,000 to support a program testing new treatments for breathing dysfunction in Rett syndrome to David Katz PhD, Case Western Reserve University.
Dr. Antony Horton IRSF Chief Scientific Officer commented, "Together these new basic and translational research awards are beginning to fulfill the promise of our 'Research to Reality' campaign which seeks to move discoveries out of the lab and translate them into new medicines for Rett syndrome." Dr. Horton added "In addition to this announcement IRSF expects to fund further meritorious research in December of this year".
|Contact: Stephen Bajardi|
International Rett Syndrome Foundation