Tuesday, October 30, 2007

DSRTF Grants Research Funds to Dr. Roger Reeves

DSRTF Grants $250,000 to Dr. Roger Reeves at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

DSRTF announces funding for a major new research program led by Dr. Roger Reeves at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Dr. Roger Reeves’ recent research discovered that a certain area of the brain, the cerebellum, is underdeveloped in a Down syndrome mouse model, analogous to observations in individuals with Down syndrome. These studies by Dr. Reeves and his colleagues further led to the identification of a potential drug that essentially normalizes the development of the cerebellum in the mouse model.

This new grant from DSRTF significantly extends Dr. Reeves’ research, and includes addressing two critical next questions:

  1. Does the potential drug also correct a deficit in the development of the nerve cells in the hippocampus, a brain area involved in learning and memory?
  2. Does the potential drug produce positive and measurable effects on learning and memory in a Down syndrome mouse model?

“The DSRTF award allows us to pursue our preliminary observations immediately without the now considerable delay that’s usually associated with obtaining federal funding,” says Dr. Reeves. “With a decrease of nearly 70 percent- from $42 to $13 million- in the amount of Down syndrome research dollars from the National Institutes of Health in the last few years the role of groups like DSRTF has become critical to continued progress in the effort to help 350,000 Americans with Down syndrome.”

This new grant adds a third novel potential therapeutic target to the DSRTF-supported research portfolio, which also includes two additional recently discovered potential therapeutic targets currently under investigation at Stanford University School of Medicine. DSRTF’s Scientific Advisory Board unanimously agreed that the new research is intriguing and closely aligns with DSRTF’s mission of accelerating research that will lead to a treatment to improve learning and memory in individuals with Down syndrome.

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