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What can you do to help us combat neurodegenerative diseases?

Critical breakthroughs often result from highly innovative, cutting edge initiatives typically not supported by traditional research grants. You can have a transformational impact in the fight against neurodegenerative diseases by partnering with our MSU Research Team through support of The Translational Neuroscience Fund. Unlike traditional funding mechanisms which often take years to fund promising projects, the Fund will quickly provide resources in response to new, paradigm shifting discoveries for Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Why should I care about medical research?

Biomedical research saves lives and improves life quality for of all us.  Beyond the lifesaving cures we all hope will come from our research, the economic impact of biomedical research on our communities is clear.

A 2011 study conducted by Association of American Medical Colleges estimated that for every dollar invested in biomedical research, an additional $2.60 of economic activity occurs.  In Michigan alone, research in medical schools like MSU’s College of Human Medicine had a $1.1 billion economic impact and employed well over 7000 Michiganders. 

These numbers do not include the downstream economic impact of having skilled workers move into our communities and shop in our stores, eat at our restaurants, buy and rent homes in our neighborhoods and enrich the already varied mosaic that comprise the populous of Michigan.

Click here to contribute directly to our research.

Parkinson’s Disease

What is MSU's mission in fighting Parkinson’s disease?

New therapeutics are desperately needed for the debilitating consequences of Parkinson’s disease (PD).  PD is a disorder of the brain that slowly robs a patient of the ability to move, eventually leaving them totally frozen.  Here at MSU, our highest priority is developing treatments to slow or halt the symptoms of PD.

How is MSU fulfilling this mission?

Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine has recruited and empowered a world-class PD research team to discover the origins of the disease and translate this knowledge into a cure. Michigan State University’s PD team is a highly interknit team of Molecular Geneticists, Cell, Protein and Molecular Biologists, Biochemists, Neuroanatomists and Behavioral Scientists, all working toward the rapid development of new candidate therapies for PD. The team assembled at MSU has been designated by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as one of ten Morris K. Udall Centers of Excellence in Parkinson’s Disease: A designation only bestowed upon the very top university research programs in PD. MSU’s Udall Center is the only one located in Michigan.

What resources do we currently have to achieve our goals?

The pace of discovery depends on time, effort, and resources. The team has been successful in competing nationally for grant support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as well as private foundations like the Michael J. Fox Foundation. While such resources are the life blood of any competitive research program, they are typically earmarked for well researched, incremental development of existing projects.

What do we do to combat PD?

  • We develop novel gene therapies to halt or reverse the progress of neurodegeneration in the Parkinsonian brain.
  • We repurpose existing pharmaceuticals.
  • We identify and develop unique neuroprotective agents to prevent the cell death associated with PD.
  • We test compounds aimed at minimizing the debilitating movement disorders (dyskinesias) that are caused by existing drug therapies.
  • We seek out treatments for the non-motor symptoms of PD including depression and GI dysfunction.
  • We genotype PD patients to predict which therapies will be most effective for them.
  • We identify the neuroprotective mechanisms and benefits of early intervention with the surgical procedure known as deep brain stimulation (DBS).
  • We invest in adult stem cell therapies to slow, stop or possibly reverse neurodegeneration in PD.
  • We educate the next generation of scientists in the fight against PD. 
  • We study the epigenetic consequences of toxicant exposures on the risk for developing PD.

How do we work together to achieve our goals?

The MSU PD Research Team, is charged with transitioning their basic work into improvements in clinical outcomes.  This is achieved through a unique team-based approach.  This non-traditional structure does away with the barriers between scientists and encourages the development of multi-investigator “super-labs” with the ability to transcend their individual limitations.  It is this philosophy that has made the MSU PD Research Team, the transformative scientific resource it is today.

If you have further interests in learning more about how your contirbutions can help, please contact Stephanie Stotenbur.