According to a story from Business Wire, the non-profit foundation CurePSP has agreed to allocate funding for four venture grants. The funding is worth over $300,000 and will be directed towards research projects in the U.S. and Germany that are focused on the rare disease progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP). This funding will go towards studies that will help further the understanding of this mysterious and debilitating disease.
About Progressive Supranuclear Palsy
Progressive supranuclear palsy is a degenerative illness that causes certain areas of the brain to atrophy and die. The cause of this disease is currently unknown. Some genetic variants are linked to the disease, but most people with the variant do not get progressive supranuclear palsy. Current research is investigating environmental factors and other genetic variants. Symptoms include lunging upon starting movement, falls, poor balance, slowing of movement, urinary incontinence, a backward head tilt from stiffening neck muscles, loss of vertical eye movement, dementia, and difficulty speaking and swallowing. Treatment is symptomatic and supportive, with no available methods for slowing or halting progression. Patients eventually lose their ability to walk in the late stages. Average survival from onset is seven years. To learn more about progressive supranuclear palsy, click here.
The research studies that CurePSP will be funding will investigate a variety of subjects related to the disease. These include further investigating the role of genetics in progressive supranuclear palsy and research into the behavior of tau protein. Tau has been implicated in a variety of dementia related illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, and it develops into intricate tangles that damage tissue in the brain.
Where Will Research Be Conducted?
A team from the University of Pittsburgh plans to be using the grant in an effort to isolate genetic variants that could potentially raise or bring down the risk of getting the disease, as well as investigate the mechanisms that play a role in the disease. Researchers from the University of North Carolina will also investigate whether the process of tau acetylation (a process of protein modification within cells) could trigger progressive supranuclear palsy. Another group of scientists from the Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich will investigate whether the gene STX6 could play a role in the uptake of tau in neurons.
To learn more about CurePSP, visit their website here.