Protein Folding Research for Parkinson’s Disease Receives Research Funds

Protein folding research is at the forefront of some exciting discoveries for Parkinson's disease. Dr. Mark Fisher has been awarded $50,000 to further his protein folding research from the University of Kansas' Proof of Concept Fund.

Lawrence, KS, April 10, 2013 --( The University of Kansas continues to move innovations from the laboratory to the marketplace. As part of this effort, KU researchers are being awarded $50,000 each through the university’s new Proof of Concept Fund for projects that are near the commercialization stage, including exciting research about Parkinson’s disease.

The Proof of Concept (POC) Fund supports KU projects that have the potential to produce new products, technologies and cures that improve lives in the near future. The POC Fund supports projects for one year to make the technologies more attractive for private investment, ideally within 12 months of being awarded funding.

Recently, Mark Fisher, a leading Parkinson’s disease expert and researcher is seeking breakthroughs for protein-based drugs addressing protein-folding disease such as Parkinson’s disease.

“Our understanding of protein folding inside the cell has advanced significantly over the last two decades. Biochemists are now aware that cellular protein folding is, in most cases, assisted by other essential proteins called molecular chaperones. With this new knowledge, we are beginning to appreciate the critical role the protein homeostasis plays in cell viability and Human disease. From a medical standpoint, understanding cellular folding is extremely important because valid estimates gleaned from molecular genetic databases indicate that between 30 To 50% of the human diseases are caused by protein folding defects. The research in the Fisher lab is focused on taking the vast knowledge describing molecular chaperone function and applying this data to establish broad based research tools and approaches to eventually aid in the identification and design of the next generation of small molecule protein drugs to ameliorate Protein Folding Diseases.”

“The Proof of Concept Fund supports KU inventions that are close to attracting industry investment,” said Julie Goonewardene, associate vice chancellor for innovation and entrepreneurship and president of the KU Center for Technology Commercialization. Goonewardene continues, “The fund is specifically designed to help high-potential KU technologies further attract industry investors and partners in the immediate future. Part of KU's mission is to make discoveries that change the world, and that includes working to commercialize those discoveries into real-world solutions. This new POC Fund is the latest example of our efforts to do that.”
Caleb Manscill
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