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With the support of a $1 million grant from the Dr. Ralph and Marian Falk Medical Research Trust, researchers at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine are furthering their work on developing drugs to treat Huntington’s disease (HD) and other neurological disorders, according to a news release.

A research team led by Xin Qi (associate professor of physiology and biophysics at the school of medicine) has been working for four years to develop drug treatments for HD, an inherited, chronic neurological disorder that causes brain cells to die, according to the release. The disorder, which has no known therapy to prevent or slow the disease, typically surfaces at age 40 and progresses until it is fatal about 10 to 20 years after diagnosis.

Based in Providence, Rhode Island, the Dr. Ralph and Marian Falk Medical Research Trust supports biomedical research with two programs: the Catalyst Research Award Program that provides seed funding to develop promising concepts, and the two-year Transformational Research Award to help researchers advance such concepts toward commercial development.

The new round of funding is a two-year grant from the trust’s Transformational Award Program. With the grant, Qi and her team will “improve on novel compounds they’ve recently identified by screening for similar but safer and more effective potential medicines,” according to the release. Her team includes Drew Adams, an assistant professor of genetics and genome sciences and co-principal investigator, and consultant William Harte, the chief translational research officer at the university.

“We will synthesize and evaluate a series of analogs of the chemical leads and assess their effectiveness in treating HD in animal models and patient cells,” Qi said. “That will allow us to identify and focus on further drug development toward novel therapeutics for HD and a wider range of neurological disorders.”

Source: CWRU research team receives $1 million to advance therapies for Huntington’s disease