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Michael J. Fox Foundation Awards $2.4 Million for Validation of Nine Promising Therapeutic Targets for Parkinson's Disease
Date:7/17/2008

son's, something no currently approved treatment has been proven to do.

Two investigators will be continuing projects initiated under previous MJFF programs, reflecting the Foundation's desire to keep promising work moving forward quickly. Stephen F. Traynelis, Ph.D., of Emory University was funded under MJFF's Community Fast Track 2005 initiative to screen small-molecule compound libraries for molecules that inhibit a certain type of brain receptor -- called the NR2D-containing NMDA receptor -- in the basal ganglia, a part of the brain involved in Parkinson's disease. His new award will allow him to take this work to the next level, testing these molecules to see if they can reduce PD-like symptoms in rodent models. Kalipada Pahan, Ph.D., of Rush University is investigating a protein called NF-kB, which is involved in the inflammation process that some believe might trigger or promote continued loss of cells in the Parkinson's brain. Dr. Pahan has already shown that delivering specific inhibitors against NF-kB is neuroprotective in a rodent model of Parkinson's. He will now work to confirm his results in a non-human primate model of PD as the next step toward possible clinical trials.

Other investigators will be looking at various targets for possible relevance to therapeutic strategies for PD. Danny G. Winder, Ph.D., and Roger J. Colbran, Ph.D., both at Vanderbilt University and Ann M. Graybiel, Ph.D., at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are each investigating new targets for possible roles in the development of dyskinesias. To identify strategies that could protect from loss of brain cells in PD, investigators Pamela J. McLean, Ph.D., of Massachusetts General Hospital (Harvard University), Malu G. Tansey, Ph.D., of University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Benjamin Wolozin, MD Ph.D., of Boston University School of Medicine will manipulate various proteins in PD animal models. Finally, Yvette F. Tache, Ph.D., of the University of C
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SOURCE Michael J. Fox Foundation
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