Where do the fundraising dollars go?
As a result of the success of the rides, the Parkinson Canada created a Pedaling for Parkinson’s Research Grant. What this means is 100% of funds generated by riders during the event will go towards this grant, then researchers can apply for this funding.
Quote from Debbie Davis, Managing Director Ontario and Vice President, Mission:
Parkinson Canada is the only organization that specifically funds Parkinson’s research in Canada. The Parkinson Canada Research Program invests in Canadian research from the ground up - starting with the discovery stage - funding only those projects that meet a standard of excellence and that are relevant to Parkinson’s. Our approach to funding means that rather than awarding a limited number of large projects, we fund a larger number of smaller grants to researchers working on a wide variety of projects. The result is more researchers exploring novel ideas, providing a crucial foundation for advancing knowledge, improving treatments, developing potential therapies, and ultimately finding a cure. Funds raised through the Pedaling for Parkinson’s event will fund, in their entirety, two of these research projects, as part of six projects funded throughout its lifetime, in Ontario that have met the standard of excellence applied by the Scientific Advisory Board”
In 2016 Pedaling for Parkinson's continued it's growth, raising in excess of $200,000 which has allowed for funding of two, two year grants through the Parkinson Canada research program. Specifically, the grant recipients are:
- Dr. Abid Oueslati , Two Year New Investigator Award researching a cell model of alpha-synuclein with a goal of understanding why Parkinson's progresses at different rates in different people.
- Dr. Joel Watts , Two Year New Investigator Award. Dr. Watts is taking the understanding built up around the diseases linked to the notorious prion proteins, and applying this knowledge to unravel the underlying molecular processes of Parkinson’s disease. His work promises to shed new light on the way in which a key protein spreads through the brain of someone with Parkinson’s disease, as well as revealing possible therapeutic targets for stopping that spread..
Below, Dr. Watts speaks to the value of the Pedaling for Parkinson's Research Grant and his project:
Thanks to your support, the event raised $174,629 and counting in support of research. We’re pleased to announce that this year’s recipients have been chosen, as follows:
- Dr. Frederic Bretzner, Two Year New Investigator Award investigating the Optimization of Deep Brain Stimulation sites. Read More.
- Dr. Austen Milnerwood , Two Year New Investigator Award investigating the pathophysiology of Parkinson’s relative to the gene LRRK2. Read More.
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.
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.
View an infographic on 2012 research recipient, Dr. Joanne Nash and her project.
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 of 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. View the presentation entitled Treatments and cures for Parkinson's disease - light at the end of the tunnel; here.
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 are current studies in a journal of high impact. We will be applying for funding to PSC and also the Fox Foundation. We also 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