Friday, November 5, 2010

Why not?

For nearly 35 years, the DMRF has been asking questions of our researchers, pushing them for scientific answers and always moving forward with a “can-do” attitude. At first, it was an uphill battle – trying to convince researchers that this was a field worthy of their time and energy. Recently, we have seen more activity and enthusiasm around dystonia research, more information and more progress. This is all to be celebrated by everyone in the dystonia community! We want you to know that the DMRF continues to push – asking ourselves, “Why not?” Why shouldn’t we take what we now know and push the science further to see what we learn? This is why the Foundation is taking the next step with a major project that we hope will lead to identifying proteins that modify the DYT1 dystonia phenotype. The concept is to use a genetic approach based on silencing selected genes and monitoring the effect of such silencing on torsinA function. This is a high-risk project, but the Foundation feels strongly that it needs to be done as it may possibly lead to potential drug targets and, eventually, to new treatments. Our Science Officer, Dr. Jan Teller, will manage this pioneering new project. This phase of the project began this week, and will continue through the Spring of 2011. We are very excited about this work. Look for a formal announcement in the next week, but we wanted to let you know early about this one way in which the spirit that founded DMRF – pushing for action and answers -- continues today.