FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Robin Mackar, NIH/NIEHS
16 Sep 2008: NIEHS Invests $21.25 Million to Find Environmental Causes of Parkinson’s Disease
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), announced today that it will award three new grants totaling $21.25 million over a five-year period to study how environmental factors contribute to the cause, prevention and treatment of Parkinson’s disease and other related disorders.
Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects nerve cells, or neurons, in several parts of the brain, including neurons that use the chemical messenger dopamine to control muscle movement. More than one million Americans suffer from Parkinson’s disease, with approximately 60,000 new cases reported each year. The average age of onset is 60 years, though people have been diagnosed much younger.
The five-year grants are being awarded as part of the NIEHS’ Centers for Neurodegeneration Science (CNS) announcement issued in 2007. The CNS program builds on the previous successes of the NIEHS Collaborative Centers for Parkinson’s Disease Environmental Research. Each center has assembled an interdisciplinary team of investigators that are working on several tightly connected research projects related to Parkinson’s disease.
“Given the growing body of literature that is identifying environmental stressors such as pesticides as risk factors for Parkinson’s disease, it is more important than ever that we bring clinical and basic scientists together to clarify the causes of this disease,” said Cindy Lawler, Ph.D., program administrator at NIEHS. “These new centers will bring us one step closer to new prevention and treatment strategies.”
The three grantees include:
“The UCLA and Emory CNS grants will extend the exciting lines of research previously supported by NIEHS through the Collaborative Centers for Parkinson’s Disease Environmental Research, while the Burnham Institute grant will bring an important new perspective to research on gene-environment interplay in Parkinson’s disease,” said Dennis Lang, Ph.D., acting director of the NIEHS Division of Extramural Research and Training.
“As a patient advocacy group, we are thrilled to see that NIEHS is continuing its research investment in this disease,” said Amy Rick, chief executive officer of the Parkinson's Action Network (PAN), an advocacy group for Parkinson’s research. “We hope that with greater understanding of the role of environmental factors in causing Parkinson’s disease, we will make great strides in finding better prevention and treatment approaches.” http://www.parkinsonsaction.org/
NIEHS supports research to understand the effects of the environment on human health and is part of NIH. For more information on environmental health topics, please visit our website at http://www.niehs.nih.gov.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's Medical Research Agency - includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov/ .