Friedman family has committed up to $600,000
New York, NY (June 29, 2016) — CurePSP, the leading nonprofit advocacy organization focused on prime of life neurodegenerative diseases, today announced a matching grant challenge of up to $600,000 from the Friedman family to accelerate genetics research.
An initial contribution of $250,000 toward this goal has been made by Marcine Friedman of Sacramento, Calif., and her son, Jeffrey S. Friedman, MD, PhD, of San Diego, Calif. Dr. Friedman serves on the Board of CurePSP and chairs the Board’s Research Committee.
The grant is an important first step toward realizing the goal of raising $4.5 million to fund what will be the definitive genetic analysis of progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), a debilitating and invariably fatal brain disease that is increasingly a focus of medical research into the causes of neurodegeneration. The PSP Genetics Consortium involves a global team of investigators under the direction of Dr. Friedman who will sequence and analyze up to 3,000 genomes from PSP patients and controls in an effort to identify all gene variants associated with the disease. It is a collaboration between CurePSP and the Tau Consortium, which was established by the late financier and philanthropist Richard Rainwater.
The initial grant will be used to put in place the bioinformatics and computing resources required for large-scale sequencing. According to Dr. Friedman, “We will need to raise additional contributions to fund incremental sequencing and project completion, but this is the fastest way to generate critical data on genetics of PSP. We believe that rapidly pushing the genetics is the best way to identify new targets for the next phase of drug development to treat PSP patients.
“This in-depth genetic analysis of PSP will complete the framework needed to better understand causes of PSP, and will play a critical role in bringing us closer to a treatment or cure,” Dr. Friedman continued. “The genetic studies funded by this initiative will identify disease-associated genes and provide a tangible pathway for development of drugs to treat PSP and related disorders. Genetic variants involved in PSP have the potential to unlock the secrets of more common neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases—showing that our initiative is both timely and urgently needed.”
“We greatly appreciate the generosity of the Friedman family and Dr. Friedman’s dedication to furthering research to find a treatment or cure for neurodegenerative diseases,” said David Kemp, President of CurePSP.
Other donors are supporting the genetics effort as well. Prof. Nicholas C. (Nico) Howson of the University of Michigan Law School recently raised more than $40,000 through an event called “Dickie’s Ride,” honoring his late father Dickie Howson, who suffered from PSP. Prof. Howson and friends cycled the length of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula from Ann Arbor to Mackinac Island to raise money for the PSP Genetics Consortium.
CurePSP also will be raising money to support the genetics effort through a campaign that offers a framed genome map from the study as a premium and membership in the PSP Genetics Consortium for individual contributions of $1,500, which will cover the cost of sequencing and analyzing one genome. Donors can go to www.crowdrise.com/curepspgeneticsconsortium to contribute.