The first Pedaling for Parkinson's grant was awarded in 2012 to mark the then high-watermark fundraising success of Pedaling for Parkinson's in Parry Sound, which raised more than $54,000. Details on 2012-14 grants follow.
In 2014-15, Pedaling for Parkinson's will continue to fund the second year of Dr. Ali Salaphour's research (see below). Additionally, the fundraising success of the 2014 Event has allowed for two new Pedaling for Parkinson's Research Grant awards.
This year's recipients are:
- Pedaling for Parkinson's New Investigator Award: Dr. Scott Ryan. Dr. Ryan's research will target mitochondrial defects in a human stem cell model of Parkinson's. Read more about Dr. Ryan's research.
- Pedaling for Parkinson's Clinical Movement Disorders Fellowship (2014-16): Dr. Camila Henriques de Aquino. Dr. Henriques de Aquino's research will aim to improve Phase IIa clinical studies of new treatments for Parkinson's (using intravenous levodopa). Read more about Dr. Henriques de Aquino's research.
2018 Update: Dr. Scott Ryan
Dr. Ryan and his team at Univeristy of Guelph have recently publsihed results in Nature Communications. Says Ryan of his findings, "Identifying the crucial role cardiolipin plays in keeping these proteins functional means cardiolipin may represent a new target for development of therapies against Parkinson's disease," said Ryan, a professor in U of G's Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. "Currently there are no treatments that stop nerve cells from dying.”. The U of G researchers found that while cardiolipin in mitochondria pulls synuclein out of toxic protein deposits and refolds it into a non-toxic shape., in people with Parkinson's disease, this process is overwhelmed over time and mitochondria are ultimately destroyed, said Ryan. "As a result, the cells slowly die. Based on this finding, we now have a better understanding of why nerve cells die in Parkinson's disease and how we might be able to intervene." Read more on his project and the recent publication.
2016 Update: Dr. Scott Ryan
While little is known of the combination of genetic and environmental factors that trigger PD, there is a growing body of evidence to suggest that agrochemical exposure (i.e. pesticides) is linked to disease etiology. Dr. Ryan's group has identified a pathway inactivated by both pesticides and disease mutations that represents a new target for drug development.
They are exploiting these findings to screen and characterize new drug candidates for therapy development.
The recipient of the 2013 Pedaling for Parkinson’s Research Grant was Dr. Ali Salahpour, from the University of Toronto. Dr. Salaphour is investigating mechanisms of dopamine transmission that may affect movement in Parkinson’s patients. Research being conducted is paving the way for a new class of drugs that can be used for treatment of Parkinson’s by changing the levels of dopamine production or the effectiveness of current drug therapies. View an infographic on his research.
Update: Dr. Ali Salaphour
2013 Pedaling for Parkinson's Grant Recipient Ali Salaphour has seen great success in his research and continues his investigation through a significant grant issued by CIHR. Specifically, he and his team were able to identify and characterize novel drugs affecting TAAR1 protein, which could lead to the enhancement of levodopa effects. The single most important observation from his study is that one of the compounds identified increases dopamine transmission in animals. Dr. Salahpour and his team are now investigating how exactly this is happening and whether they can further improve the compound. Read how he leveraged his $90,000 grant to more than $400,000 in new funding.
The recipient of the 2012 Pedaling for Parkinson’s Research grant was Dr. Joanne Nash. Dr. Nash, from the University of Toronto, investigates the protective properties of a protein call sirtuin 3. She hopes to learn whether injecting more of this protein directly into the areas of the brain damaged by Parkinson’s disease will protect critical cells from dying, or even reverse damage. Her work could eventually lead to a new gene therapy or drug to treat or halt the progression of Parkinson’s disease.
As part of Parkinson’s Awareness Month, Dr. Nash delivered a presentation at Canadore College in Parry Sound.
Update: A note from Dr. Joanne Nash:
Dear Peter and David,
In 2012 I was the recipient for the Pedaling for Parkinson’s Pilot Grant Project. Hopefully you will recall, I visited Parry Sound to give a talk to the Parkinson’s Group in April 2013. We are now rounding up the project, and hoping to publish in early 2015.
The data look extremely positive. We have showed that our novel target was neuroprotective and neuroregenerative in two rodent models of Parkinson’s disease. We are now applying for funding to move this project forward into more clinically relevant models namely, primates and human stem cells. We are hoping to publish our current studies in a journal of high impact. We will be applying for funding to PSC and also the Fox Foundation. We also intend to learn more about the mechanisms of how our exciting target is working by applying for funding through the CIHR.
Thank you for your support on this project, it was much appreciated.
Joanne E. Nash, PhD