The Michael Stern Parkinson’s Research Foundation has designed a research approach that we believe will greatly speed discovery of an effective new drug to prevent development of Parkinson’s disease — a medical condition caused by the death of dopamine-producing neurons. The current L-Dopa drug therapy attempts to replace dopamine that is lost due to the death of these cells, but this treatment has a positive effect for only a few years.
Our method applies the “TRAP Technology” that we originally developed in our laboratories to analyze and compare all of the proteins produced in two different kinds of dopamine-producing neurons in the brain. This approach will tell us why only a certain kind of dopamine-producing neurons die and will enable us to be the first to identify the proteins in dopamine-producing neurons that drive Parkinson’s disease, and may be targeted by a potential new drug to save these critical neurons.
The unique knowledge base and sophisticated technology the MSPRF research group has gained — led by the Nobel Laureate scientist, Dr. Paul Greengard — will allow us to precisely identify the protein targets responsible for the disease. As a result, we are optimistic that our PD research is on the fastest track to scientific discoveries that could defeat Parkinson’s disease. Furthermore, our research applies to 100% of PD patients, including those 5% whose disease is hereditary.
Our scientists work synergistically and based on their understanding of how the disease ravages the brain, have developed many insights into how the devastating symptoms of Parkinson’s disease might be prevented or delayed. Their findings continue to be published in major scientific publications such as Nature, Cell, Science and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
To date, we have contributed over $46 million to Parkinson’s research. Significant accomplishments directly due to our funding include:
- Developing new imaging techniques for detecting changes in the Parkinson’s disease brain at the earliest stages of the disease.
- Continuing fundamental discoveries about the function of the “master molecule” DARPP-32 that will lay the groundwork for new treatments.
- Investigating genes that protect some dopamine neurons and genes that put other dopamine neurons at risk.
- Fine tuning our understanding of the signaling pathways within dopamine neurons.
- Investigating non-dopamine related symptoms, such as mood disorders and mental illnesses, and the impact they have on patients and families.
- Refining the conditions needed for developing techniques to transplant therapeutic cells into the brain, based on research in animal models of Parkinson’s disease.
For additional information about our scientific studies, please contact us.