Between 7 and 10 million patients worldwide suffer from Parkinson’s disease, a progressive neurologic disorder that can cause tremors, imbalance, memory issues, problems swallowing, and more. With no known cure, patients can only work to manage these debilitating symptoms, which vary widely from person to person.
To improve treatment options, a Brigham and Women’s Hospital patient with Parkinson’s recently made anonymous gifts totaling $220,000 to the Parkinson’s Research Fund. The patient says his physician, Lewis Sudarsky, MD, director of the Movement Disorders Division, inspired his philanthropy.
“I’m grateful for the optimism of Dr. Sudarsky and his team,” he says. “They believe we can figure out this disease. We don’t have to give up.”
The funding is supporting research by young investigators in BWH’s Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases. One of their projects examines a protein called α-Synuclein as a potential drug target. Another harnesses stem cell and genome editing technology to track the disease’s development. And a third study seeks to understand why patients decline at different rates, with some remaining mobile and others becoming disabled.
“My goal is to move Parkinson’s research forward,” the patient says. “It’s well worth supporting this promising work to benefit future generations.”