Parkinson's disease (PD) and related Lewy body disorders (LBD), including incidental Lewy body disease (ILDB), Alzheimer's disease with Lewy bodies (ADLB) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) may affect up to 40% of the elderly population. Current FDA-approved therapies for PD are still based on neurochemical deficits discovered more than 40 years ago. Experimental model-systems and molecular genetics research since that time, while contributing exponentially to the knowledge base, have not converted this work into new approved agents. Renewed and intensified human tissue-based research may help break this stalemate. Essential to such studies, however, is the availability of high quality diseased and normal control tissue with maximal preservation of molecular entities and detailed clinical characterization. The Brain and Body Donation Program (BBDP) at Banner Sun Health Research Institute is uniquely suited to fill this critical need, as demonstrated by its 20 years of operation and a median 2.8 hour postmortem interval (PMI) for the entire collection of 1,200 brains. Other unique features include a focus on normal aging, comprehensive standardized antemortem cognitive, motor and non-motor assessments and the accompanying donation of bodily organs. The BBDP has the proven capability of serving as a national resource. In the most recent 5 year period it has supported 91 different researchers located in 20 different states, collectively holding 126 NIH grants. There is no other brain bank in the US or world with these unique capabilities. This proposal would enable the BBDP to become a powerful resource for researchers focused on PD and related disorders.
The Specific Aims are directed at supporting a major expansion of service to researchers investigating PD and other LBDs. To accomplish this, resource availability will be publicized, additional staff will be hired and a web portal will be developed so that external researchers may search for and request tissue as well as linked clinical data. Steering and Resources Committees with external investigator representation will manage the resource and evaluate requests, allowing the BBDP to supply between 50 and 100 LBD-focused research projects over the five year funding period.
Parkinson's disease, dementia with Lewy bodies and other Lewy body disorders (LBD) may affect up to 40% of the US elderly, causing major movement and mental disabilities for affected individuals as well as economic hardship for families. This proposal would seek to assist between 50 and 100 LBD-focused research projects by supplying them with critically-needed human tissue that is not available elsewhere.
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