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Co-sponsored Awards of $ 1.2 Million to Parkinsonís Research

For the second year in a row, PDF has teamed up with the Florida-based, National Parkinson Foundation to award $1.2 million in Parkinsonís research grants to some 30 scientists in the U.S. and four other countries Ė the Netherlands, France, Germany and Italy.

This year, an unprecedented number of applications Ė over 100 in total Ė were submitted for funding. In a daylong meeting in May 2003, the PDF-NPF Joint Scientific Advisory Committee reviewed the proposals, selecting 30 for support during the academic year 2003-2004. The Committee was co-chaired by Dr. Stanley Fahn, Scientific Director of PDF, and Dr. Ariel Deutsch, Scientific Chair of NPF.

Among the institutions represented in the awards list were the Parkinsonís Institute, CA; The Mayo Clinic, FL; The University of Minnesota, MN; Columbia University, NY and The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. A full list of the investigators and institutions who received the awards can be found in the Summer Newsletter 2003 section on our website www.pdf.org.

ďThe standards and quality of the proposals we received is a clear indication that Parkinsonís research continue to make great stridesĒ, said Dr. Fahn following the meeting. One of the successful candidates was Dr. Tanya Blekher, Ph.D of Indiana University. She and her colleagues will attempt to determine early biologic markers for PD by comparing early-stage PD patients with siblings who do not have Parkinsonís thereby assisting genetic studies. Another investigator is Dr. Emad Eskandar, a neurosurgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital who will attempt to understand better the interaction between the so-called direct and indirect pathways of the basal ganglia, the part of the brain that controls movement and is affected in movement disorders such as PD. Data from such work could lead to better determination of target sites for cell implantation or other restorative and/or protective strategies. A third item is comprised of Drs. Carmelina Gemma and Paula Bickford (University of South Florida, Tampa), who will use their funding to try to identify the time element between neuroprotective and neurodegenerative effects of a protein that causes inflammation in the brain.

Source Date: Sep 01 2003