Studies seek to establish an early-stage blood biomarker, explore novel therapies and support the creation of a cohort of PSP and CBD patients in Argentina.
NEW YORK, Sept. 28, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — CurePSP has awarded its latest Pathway and Pipeline Grants and Urso Student Fellowships, totaling over $422,000. Recipients of the grants are: Dr. Kurt Farrell, assistant professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; Dr. Blas Couto, researcher at the Institute of Translational and Cognitive Neuroscience (INCyT) in Buenos Aires; Dr. Luana Fioriti, head of laboratory at the Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research in Milan, alongside Dr. Carmela Tartaglia, associate professor at the University of Toronto and clinician at the Rossy PSP Centre; and Dr. Joseph B. Rayman, assistant professor of medical sciences at Columbia University Irving Medical Center. Recipients of the Urso Student Fellowship Grants are: Hania Qamar (mentor: Dr. Naomi Visanji), a graduate student at the University of Toronto; Hasnat Nuri (mentor: Dr. Stewart Clark), an undergraduate student at SUNY at Buffalo; and Soyeon Park (mentor: Dr. Jonathan Lin), an undergraduate student at Stanford University. The studies will make progress in identifying biomarkers, studying pathways for therapeutics and creating a new database of patients in Argentina.
The latest Pathway grants will fund two projects: “Understanding the Roles of Risk Loci Implicated in Genome-Wide Association Studies of PSP” by Dr. Kurt Farrell, and “Epidemiology and Tau Biology in a Longitudinal Cohort of Argentinian Patients with PSP and CBD” by Dr. Blas Couto. Dr. Farrell’s project will use data from a previous genetic analysis to identify specific genes and biological mechanisms that cause PSP. Dr. Couto will study a group of Argentinian patients with CBD and PSP to develop a research-ready biobank and database.
The newest Pipeline grants will fund “Potential Therapeutic Biomarkers for Progressive Supranuclear Palsy” by Dr. Luana Fioriti and Dr. Carmela Tartaglia, and “Development of Small Molecule Inhibitors of Tau Oligomerization” by Dr. Joseph B. Rayman. Dr. Fioriti and Dr. Tartaglia are investigating a specific type of post-translational modification of tau that could lead to a novel PSP-specific early-stage blood biomarker. Dr. Rayman’s work will continue the development of a small molecule that, via its interaction with TIA1 protein, could prevent the pathological oligomerization of the tau protein, therefore opening the way to new therapeutic approaches for tauopathies including PSP, CBD and Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr. Jennifer Brummet, associate director of scientific affairs and partnerships at CurePSP, hopes that these projects will lead to progress in high-priority research areas.
“Together, these grants will help advance our understanding of the fundamental neurobiology of PSP and CBD while also investigating potential biomarkers and therapeutics,” Dr. Brummet said. “There is a critical need for biomarkers to help ensure accurate diagnosis of PSP and CBD and for therapeutics to help treat or cure PSP and CBD, and these grants will help move the needle on these goals.”
The newest Urso Student Fellowship grants were awarded to students conducting projects that focus on the complex barriers facing research of PSP and CBD.
“Progressive Supranuclear Palsy: A Disease-Specific Mouse Tauopathy Model” by Hania Qamar (mentor: Dr. Naomi Visanji) recognizes the lack of an animal model as a barrier to understanding PSP and aims to generate a mouse model that would be the closest replica of how PSP presents itself in the human brain. “Investigation of the Role of Non-cholinergic PPTg Neurons in a Model of PSP” by Hasnat Nuri (mentor: Dr. Stewart Clark) seeks to further develop a mouse model of PSP by administering the tau protein in the brain region known as the pedunculopontine tegmentum (PPTg) to investigate the effects of abnormal tau accumulating in this region. “Testing Anti-Tau Properties of Integrated Stress Response Boosters In Vivo” by Soyeon Park (mentor: Dr. Jonathan Lin) will study the effects of injecting mice with Integrated Stress Response (ISR) boosters to see if cell death and tau levels are reduced. The opportunities afforded by these grants will help foster the next generation of researchers dedicated to furthering our understanding of PSP, CBD and related diseases, while contributing essential information to the field.
About CurePSP’s Research Grants
Pathway and Pipeline Grants provide seed funding to support innovative projects focused on the fundamental neurobiology and mechanisms of tauopathies (“Pathway”), and translational projects focusing on new therapeutics and biomarkers for tauopathies (“Pipeline”). The Urso Student Fellowship supports students conducting summer research projects focused on PSP, CBD and related diseases with a goal of encouraging students at all post-secondary levels to pursue research in the field. The next deadline for Pathway and Pipeline Grant applications is October 31, 2023. The next deadline for Urso Student Fellowship Grants is January 31, 2024, and applications will open this fall. Learn more about our research grants here. Grant applications will be submitted to ProposalCentral and can be found here.
CurePSP is the leading nonprofit organization dedicated to the awareness, care and cure for three neurodegenerative diseases: progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), corticobasal degeneration (CBD) and multiple system atrophy (MSA). As a catalyst for new treatments and a cure, CurePSP establishes important partnerships and funds critical research internationally. Through its advocacy and support efforts, CurePSP enhances education, care delivery and quality of life for people living with PSP, CBD and MSA and their families. Science, community and hope are at the heart of CurePSP’s mission and all its services. CurePSP is a registered 501(c)(3) charity within the United States (EIN: 52-1704978). For more information, please visit www.curepsp.org.