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The Parkinson's Disease Foundation awards $950,000 in seed grants
Date:7/1/2008

king on a new animal model based on the hypothesis that oxidative stress causes PD. He proposes that laboratory mice that are deficient in certain protective antioxidant enzymes, such as superoxide dismutase, in combination with mutations in the genes DJ-1 and Parkin (linked to familial PD), will experience progressive loss of dopamine neurons and other features of PD.

In research of potential treatments, it is important not only to have the means to explore them, as Dr. Goldberg is doing, but to have tangible theories for how they work. This is the focus of the research Dr. Lynch, of the Wadsworth Center of the New York State Department of Health.

Dr. Lynch will be using her grant from PDF to explore a variant of antibodies known as "intrabodies" (called such, because they perform work inside of cells) as a potential treatment for people with PD. She plans to engineer these intrabodies to see if they prevent clumping of the protein alpha-synuclein, which leads to the formation of Lewy bodies already known as a hallmark of PD. Researchers believe that destroying the clumping of alpha-synuclein may stop the disease in its tracks.

Dr. Lynch is hopeful that her efforts will have high potential to move to clinical trials because past evidence has shown antibodies to be effective therapies for other diseases. In Parkinson's models, recent research has revealed that intrabodies can indeed inhibit protein aggregation and toxicity. Dr. Lynch sees the possibility that eventually, engineered intrabodies may be found to halt the loss of dopaminergic neurons in people with Parkinson's disease.

Of this year's IRGFP recipients, PDF Scientific Director, Dr. Stanley Fahn said, "PDF is pleased to have another strong pool of candidates who are focused on understanding and treating Parkinson's. Today, unfortunately, funding for science through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) trails the rate of inflation. This means that programs
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Contact: Melissa Barry
mbarry@pdf.org
212-923-4700
Parkinson's Disease Foundation
Source:Eurekalert

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