Investigators earn Michael J. Fox Foundation award

Doctors Joers and Tansey
Valerie Joers, Ph.D., (left) and Malú Tansey, Ph.D.

Investigators at UF’s Center for Translational Research in Neurodegenerative Disease, or CTRND, earned a one-year, $200,000 award from the Michael J. Fox Foundation’s Target Advancement Program to explore novel approaches to treat Parkinson’s disease.

The award will fund a study to determine how targeting cannabinoid receptor 2, or CB2, could alter the behavior of microglia that interact with alpha-synuclein, a protein that aggregates in Parkinson’s disease.

The researchers will use microglia isolated from the brains of mice, challenge them with forms of alpha-synuclein and evaluate the impact of treatment using CB2-acting compounds. Additionally, they will use a mouse model of Parkinson’s disease that overexpresses alpha-synuclein in the brain to visualize how cells labeled for CB2 directly interact with alpha-synuclein when in a native environment.

“We hope that this study will help us understand more about the role of CB2 in brain immune cells to remove toxic alpha-synuclein and potentially identify specific CB2-targeted therapies for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease,” said Valerie Joers, Ph.D., who will co-lead the study with CTRND Director Malú Tansey, Ph.D.

Click here to learn more about the study.