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Carlo Nationalist – Irish scholars receive a grant from the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research



Irish neurologists who are studying a new approach to brain recovery in Parkinson's disease have received significant funding from the Michael J. Foundation. Fox.

The NUI Galway team received $ 300,000 (267,480 euros) from the foundation created by the Hollywood actor 19 years ago.

Mr Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease at the beginning of 1991 when he was 29 years old.

Following his disclosure in 1998, he was committed to the campaign to increase Parkinson's research.

The Foundation is dedicated to finding a cure for Parkinson's disease through a funded research program and to ensure the development of improved therapies for those living with the disease.

Parkinson's disease is a condition that primarily affects the ability of a person to control movement leading to progressive deterioration of abilities.

Symptoms of the disease are caused by degeneration and death of brain cells that regulate movement.

The repair of Parkinson's brain involves replacing dead cells by transplanting healthy cells back into the brain.

However, the widespread introduction of therapy is hampered by poor survival of implanted cells.

Dr. Eilís Dowd's research team found that cell survival improved dramatically when implanted into the brain in a gel made from the natural collagen material.

Funding will allow Dr. Daud to see if the collagen gel can also improve the survival of healthy brain cells generated by adult stem cells.

Dr. Dawd, according to previous studies published in the journal Nature, scientific reports, show that collagen has helped the cells survive the process of unwanted transplantation.

Funding will allow them to check whether the approach can improve the survival and reparative ability of healthy brain cells taken from adult stem cells.

"This could lead to a dramatic improvement in the brain regeneration approaches for Parkinson's disease, a field that has been hampered by poor transplant survival for years," she said.

Dr Eils Daud

"We hope that this implant will cope with Parkinson's disease in its source in the brain and will give people back their quality of life," she said.

Senior Associate Director of the Michael J. Fox Foundation, Dr. Liliana Mennal, said cell replacement therapy was a "promising approach" for restoring cellular function and alleviating the symptoms of Parkinson's disease.

"This approach to increasing cell survival with collagen is an innovative way to overcome the constant challenge and can greatly improve these therapeutics for many people living with the disease," said Dr. Menalled.

The study will be led by Dr. Daud, along with colleagues at the Galway Neuroscience Center and CÚRAM, the Irish Science Fund, the Medical Research Center at NUI Galway and the University of Edinburgh.

Dr. Daud's studies have been featured in the short documentary Feats of Modest Valor, which won the prestigious Scion Science Film Scientists Award in New York, as well as the Occupational Documentary Award at the Raw Science Festival in California.

Born in Connemara, Co Galway, Dr. Dawd has been working in Parkinson's preclinical research for nearly 20 years.

Her research focuses on understanding the cause of the condition and developing new pharmacological, cellular, gene and biomaterial therapies for it.

Dr. Daud is President of Neuroscience Ireland and is in the board of directors of the Federation of European Neurosciences and the International Brain Research Organization.


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