Friday, September 07, 2007

UC Davis nets $21M genetic research grant

UC Davis nets $21M genetic research grant

Sacramento Business Journal - 9:52 AM PDT Thursday, September 6, 2007

by Celia Lamb

Staff writer

The University of California Davis has received a $21 million federal grant to develop treatments for a genetic disease that causes dementia and tremors in adults.

The same research team that in 2001 discovered the disease, called fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome, will lead the research, according to a press release from the university. The money from the National Institutes of Health The genetic mutation that causes the age-related neurological disorder is also the most common cause of inherited mental impairment and the leading single-gene cause of autism in children. Prior to the discovery of fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome, the disease was often misdiagnosed as Parkinson's or Alzheimer's disease.

Molecular biologist Paul Hagerman will oversee the institute, one of nine interdisciplinary research consortia announced today by the NIH with the goal of integrating different disciplines to address health challenges that have been resistant to traditional research.

"Dr. Hagerman and his colleagues have put together an impressive team of scientists with expertise in genetics, neurophysiology, neuroimaging and therapeutics development to identify new treatment options for neurogenetic disorders such as (fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome)," said Larry Tabak, director of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research and co-chair of the working group that identified the science to be funded.

The institute based at UC Davis will include more than 30 investigators, including some at Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands, the University of Washington in Seattle, the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver and Scripps Research Institute in Florida.

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