Important research is being done in West Michigan to test a possible cure for Parkinson's disease.

Grand Valley State University says that they, along with Van Andel Research Institute and Rush University, have received a $500,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to test a possible cure for Parkinson’s disease.

The patent-pending technology that will be used in the research was developed by GVSU alumni Nicholas Huisingh, Jordan Straight, Daniel Doyle and Douglas Peterson while they were undergraduate students.

Merritt DeLano-Taylor, associate professor of biomedical sciences at Grand Valley, will serve as one of three principal investigators for the project. His partners include Van Andel Research Institute’s Patrik Brundin and Rush University’s Jeffery Kordower.

The research will attempt to find if a new treatment method can protect the neurons which are attacked during Parkinson's disease.

A more specific explanation:

  • The main targets of neuronal loss in Parkinson’s disease are dopamine neurons. This research project will test if the introduction of a modified protein, known as PM-Nato3, will protect those neurons from the disease.
The research team hopes that delivering PM-Nato3 into the affected area of the brain of a person with Parkinson’s disease will protect dopamine neurons. The team will test the method with human cells and animal models.

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