Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, and retinitis pigmentosa all have different manifestations and affect different body functions, but they are all connected by one mechanism: neurodegeneration.
Researchers a have identified a protein key to the development of a type of brain cell believed to play a role in disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases and used the discovery to grow the neurons from stem cells for the first time.
Over two decades of fundamental research in Parkinson’s disease led by Su-Chun Zhang, MD, PhD, professor of neuroscience and neurology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Waisman investigator, has culminated in the development of a promising stem cell-based treatment for the disease.
Grafting neurons grown from monkeys’ own cells into their brains relieved the debilitating movement and depression symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease, researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison reported today.
The mature brain is infamously bad at repairing itself following damage like that caused by trauma or strokes, or from degenerative diseases like Parkinson’s. Stem cells, which are endlessly adaptable, have offered the promise of better neural repair. But the brain’s precisely tuned complexity has stymied the development of clinical treatments.
Su-Chun Zhang, MD, PhD, the Steenbock Professor in Behavioral and Neural Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Waisman Center investigator, is part of an interdisciplinary team of researchers selected by the Aligning Science Across Parkinson’s (ASAP) initiative to receive $9 million over three years for the “Parkinson5D: Deconstructing Proximal Disease Mechanisms Across Cells, Space and Progression” or PD5D project.
Several research and infrastructure projects featuring Waisman Center researchers as the primary or co-investigator have been selected for the second round of funding through the UW2020
A University of Wisconsin—Madison neuroscientist has inserted a genetic switch into nerve cells so a patient can alter their activity by taking designer drugs that would not affect any other cell.
The telegram from President John F. Kennedy to University of Wisconsin President Fred Harrington was both eerie and visionary. Eerie because it was delivered Nov. 20, 1963 – just two days before Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas – and visionary because it seemed to anticipate the challenges confronting science in its quest to explore the human brain.
A gift of $500,000 from George E. Prescott, a member of the Waisman Center’s board of visitors, will benefit the Parkinson’s disease research program at the Waisman Center.