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Neuropathy Association Research Grants Advance the Understanding of Diabetic Neuropathy and Autoimmune Neuropathies
Date:9/22/2009

NEW YORK, Sept. 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Neuropathy Association has announced two awardees for its annual Scientific Research Grants Program.

Every year, The Neuropathy Association--the leading national non-profit organization dedicated to finding cures for peripheral neuropathies--awards two scientific research grants, each for $80,000 over a two-year period.

This year's grant recipients--Dennis Paul, Ph.D. and co-principal investigator, Harry J. Gould, M.D., Ph.D. of Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center New Orleans and Glaucia C. Furtado, Ph.D. of Mount Sinai School of Medicine--were chosen from thirteen applicants involved in neuropathy research at medical institutions across North America.

Drs. Dennis Paul and Harry Gould--co-investigators on the proposal, Sodium Channels, Sodium Pumps, Inflammation, and Diabetic Neuropathy--are investigating the concomitant role of diabetes and inflammation in the development of diabetic neuropathy. They are hopeful that by studying the biological and physical manifestations of diabetic neuropathy--and specifically, the role of nerve cell death by lysis (or bursting)--they will better understand the pathogenesis of one of the most common, and debilitating, complications of diabetes.

Dr. Paul notes, "Understanding the mechanism of nerve cell survival after inflammatory or neuropathic insult will lead to new treatments and preventive strategies for diabetic neuropathy."

Dr. Glaucia Furtado's proposal, Role of CCR7 in Peripheral Neuropathy, is based on the hypothesis that the lack of CCR7--protein receptors normally found on white blood cells (or WBCs) of the immune system--induces an autoimmune demyelinating neuropathy. CCR7 receptors are responsible for guiding migration of WBCs to and within lymph tissues, where they initiate an immune response.

Dr. Furtado explains, "Besides providing new clues for how the immune system works, this study will help us identify therapeutics that block the development of autoimmune neuropathies."

Thomas H. Brannagan, III, M.D., the Association's medical advisor affirms, "We continue to invest in critical research that builds on our understanding of neuropathy's many forms, hopeful that our investments will lead to more effective treatment and cures."

About Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy is one of the most common chronic diseases in the U.S., affecting more than 20 million Americans. Neuropathy results from injury to the peripheral nerves--the motor, sensory and autonomic nerves--connecting the spinal cord to the muscles, skin, blood vessels and internal organs. It usually affects the hands and feet, causing weakness, numbness, lack of coordination or pain.

Approximately 30% of neuropathies are "idiopathic," meaning of an unknown cause; 30% are caused by diabetes. Other causes include autoimmune disorders, tumors, heredity, nutritional deficiencies, infections, trauma, and toxins.

About The Neuropathy Association

The Neuropathy Association is the leading national nonprofit organization providing neuropathy patient support and education, advocating for patients' interests, and supporting critical research. The Association has more than 50,000 members and supporters and a nationwide network of 135 patient support groups, 5 chapters, and 12 Neuropathy Centers of Excellence.

For information about peripheral neuropathy and The Neuropathy Association, visit www.neuropathy.org.

Contact Tina Tockarshewsky at (212) 692-0380


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SOURCE The Neuropathy Association
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