Unity Walk > Parkinson's Disease Foundation Research Grants
Parkinson's Disease Foundation is using its 2012 distribution to fund:
Stability of Tetrameric a-synuclein as a Biomarker in Parkinson’s Disease
|PROJECT TITLE: Stability of Tetrameric a-synuclein as a Biomarker in Parkinson’s Disease
Investigators/Authors: Tim Bartels, M.Sc., Ph.D., and Dennis J. Selkoe, M.D.; Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital; Boston, MA
Objective: To develop a test to detect different forms of the pathologic protein a-synuclein
Background: A hallmark of Parkinson’s is the clumping together of a protein known as a-synuclein (a-Syn) in certain cells of the brain. Although scientists don’t know exactly how or why a-Syn forms clumps, abnormally shaped forms of the protein may be to blame. The laboratory of Dr. Bartels and Dr. Selkoe recently discovered that in normal cells, four copies of the a-Syn protein associate with each other to form a structure that is called a tetramer. In people with PD, however, the a-Syn tetramer doesn’t assemble properly, which may make the protein more vulnerable to clumping. Currently, researchers do not have a method for detecting these abnormal forms of a-Syn in the blood or brains of people with PD. Therefore, the researchers plan to develop a test, known as an Enzyme-linked Immunosorbant Assay (ELISA), to detect different forms of a-Syn.
Methods/Design: The ELISA will use antibodies that can discriminate between normal and abnormal a-Syn forms to determine which forms of a-Syn are present in blood or brain tissue samples. They will use this ELISA to characterize a-Syn forms in many blood samples and brains of humans and mice with PD.
Relevance to Diagnosis/Treatment of Parkinson’s disease: Being able to do so may help scientists better understand how a-Syn forms clumps, as well as aid PD diagnosis and the search for more effective therapies.
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