Road to The Cure May 2013 Update


We are happy to be in our new office and laboratory space continuing on our mission “Road to the Cure.” For a better understanding of this update, you may want to refer to the earlier updates in the PRO Monthly newsletter.

Our current update follows:
Van Andel Institute-SDBC Parkinson’s Collaboration

A Principal Investigator from Van Andel Institute, Grand Rapids, Michigan, visited the SDBC for three days in the first week of April. During his visit for treating patients, we outlined scientific experiments in Parkinson’s-like transgenic mice to be conducted at the institute with the SDBC’s potential drug, alpha-Synuclein Picobody. The objective of this collaboration is to study pharmacokinetics (sometimes abbreviated as PK, a branch of pharmacology dedicated to the determination of the fate of substances administered externally to a living organism) and biodistribution (a method of tracking where compounds of interest travel in an experimental animal or human subject) of the potential drug in alpha-synuclein transgenic mice. The bottleneck in these experiments, however, is the generation of transgenic mice, which we bought from the Michael J. Fox Foundation. Currently, we are in the process of breeding transgenic (Tg) mice. As soon as we have generated 90 alpha-synuclein Tg mice, which may take up to six months of time, we will begin our study at the Van Andel Institute.
We are in the process of purifying needed amounts of alpha-syn picobody for the proposed studies at Van Andel Institute.

Fund Raising Efforts for the alpha-synuclein project
–  We submitted a grant to NIH on April 3, 2013.
–  We are also in the process of submitting a grant application to The Cure Parkinson’s Trust, UK.
As we are expanding our mouse colonies, the cost of these programs is escalating every day:
1)  Our monthly expense for vivarium room rental is $2,700;
2)  In addition to the room rental charges, each mouse cage costs $3 per day. Currently we have 27 mouse cages, which amount to $81 per day or $2430 per month and;
3) This expense will increase as we expand our mouse colonies.

LRRK2 Program
We have successfully generated a very specific mutant LRRK2 picobody, which does not cross-react with the wild type LRRK2.
In order to purify these antibodies, we need to purchase at least 20 mg each of the mutant and wild-type LRRK2 proteins. The best price we can obtain is from Invitrogen (Carlsbad, CA): $9450 per mg. Basically, each of these proteins will cost us about $200,000 with state taxes. We have approached the Michael J. Fox Foundation to seek help for funding and set up possible collaborations with their scientists to generate the needed amount of recombinant LRRK2 proteins.
Parkinson’s Resource Organization appreciates having been the first Parkinson’s Organization introduced to this life-changing science. It needs people to bring it to fruition. The following figure will describe the specificity of our mutant and LRRK2 picobodies:

LRRK2 Graph

Being a part of this historic, humanitarian effort requires an investment. If you have Parkinson’s, it may be an investment in your life. If you don’t have Parkinson’s, it would be an investment in humanity. Please get in touch with Jo Rosen at Parkinson’s Resource Organization who will gladly introduce you to the right parties for making your investment possible. The only impediment to getting to the human side of this science is funding. The sooner the funds are raised, the sooner human clinical trials can begin. If funding had happened a year ago January, this science would probably be at or nearing human clinical trials today. If funding happens a year from now, you might expect clinical trials two years from now. It’s all in the funding.

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