Stevens Foundation grant establishes the Parkinson’s Disease Center of Excellence

Posted on: Thursday, January 25th, 2018

The Perry and Ruby Stevens Foundation awarded UT Health San Antonio $1.5 million to support its new center of excellence for the prevention, research, and treatment of Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease is the second most common age-related neurodegenerative disorder after Alzheimer’s disease, with an estimated seven to 10 million patients worldwide. Over 1 million people in the U.S. suffer with Parkinson’s disease and about 60,000 Americans are diagnosed annually.

There is no known cure or understanding of what causes Parkinson’s disease. For those diagnosed there is only treatment for the symptoms of this progressive neurodegenerative disease.

The need for more research on its underlying causes drove the creation of this new Parkinson’s center.

The Parkinson’s Disease Center of Excellence will reside within UT Health’s Institute for Integration of Medicine and Science (IIMS). The center’s logo will be unveiled at its inaugural Lecture Series Feb. 2 featuring Marcel Daadi, Ph.D., a Texas BioMed researcher specializing in translational research for clinical use in Parkinson’s disease.

Andrea Giuffrida, Ph.D. and UT Health’s vice president for research, applied for the grant with Drs. Clark and Strong, after receiving his first Foundation grant in 2014 to support a collaborative Parkinson’s disease research project with investigator, Dr. Anna Carta at University of Cagliari based in Italy. The center’s three co-directors are Dr. Giuffrida,  IIMS director Bob Clark, M.D., and Randy Strong, Ph.D., from the Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies.

“This philanthropic gift will play a key role in developing a critical mass of biomedical scientists in the area of PD and providing resources to them,” Dr. Guiffrida said. “This Center of Excellence will build on our institutional commitment to create a world class research environment in aging and neurodegenerative diseases and leverage existing strengths and collaborations with our external partners including UTSA, Texas Biomed, SwRI, and the UT System.”

Having worked on Parkinson’s disease over the past 10 years, Dr. Clark predicts there will be much collaboration between the new center and the Barshop Institute and Biggs Institute, South Texas’ first Institute for Alzheimer and Neurodegenerative Diseases.

To read the full article, visit the UT Health San Antonio Newsroom.

Article Categories: In the News, Research and Progress