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Stem cell leader awarded $2.3 million grant for Parkinson's
Date:2/4/2011

LA JOLLA, CA-The Salk Institute has been awarded a $2.3 million grant by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) for translational research focusing on developing a novel stem cell based therapy for Parkinson's disease.

The research will concentrate on studying human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells derived from patients suffering from Parkinson's disease to replicate the disorder in the lab and investigate the role of inflammation in the cause and progression of the neurodegeneration typical of the disease.

Led by Fred H. Gage, Ph.D., a professor in the Salk's Laboratory of Genetics and holder of the Vi and John Adler Chair for Research on Age-Related Neurodegenerative Diseases, the grant will fund a joint effort between Salk researchers, the team of Christopher Glass, Ph.D., a professor of Medicine and Cellular and Molecular Medicine at the University of California, San Diego, and international collaborators in Germany.

Parkinson's disease is a chronic, progressive neurological disease that usually occurs later in life and is linked to decreased dopamine production, the chemical messenger involved in communication between the brain and the muscles. The most common neurodegenerative movement disorder, Parkinson's disease is characterized by motor impairment such as slowness of movements, shaking and gait disturbances.

"Given that age is the most consistent risk factor for Parkinson's, and we have an aging population, it is of utmost importance that we unravel the cellular, molecular, and genetic causes of the highly specific cell death characteristic of the disease and find new therapies to limit the social, economic and emotional impact," said Gage.

Most studies to find better drugs to treat Parkinson's disease were done with mice and often failed when tested in patients. In the past, scientists had been limited to study the brains of people with Parkinson's disease via imaging technologie
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Contact: Kat Kearney
kkearney@salk.edu
858-453-410-01226
Salk Institute
Source:Eurekalert  

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