Rosenbaums power research for Parkinson’s disease

Rosenbaums power research for Parkinson’s disease

Brett and Heather Rosenbaum with their three children

“We’re hopeful for Dr. Scherzer’s research. We’ll give everything we can until there is a cure.”

When Brett Rosenbaum first noticed the tremors in 2011, he thought stress was the cause. After all, he was juggling work, parenting young children, and coping with his mother’s terminal illness. His wife, Heather, urged him to see a doctor. Neither imagined he would be diagnosed at 35 with early-onset Parkinson’s disease.

“Once the shock wore off, we went on the offense,” Brett recalls, noting Parkinson’s is a progressive neurologic condition affecting movement.

The Rosenbaums visited several movement disorder specialists before selecting Brigham neurologist Clemens Scherzer, MD. He impressed them with his skills as a physician and his bold research to solve Parkinson’s disease. As they learned more about Scherzer’s efforts to use genomics and big data to develop new, proactive, and personalized medicine, the family committed $1 million to accelerate his multifaceted investigations.

The Rosenbaums’ gift is powering Scherzer’s work to quickly expand the pipeline of treatments, including by repurposing existing therapies. Scherzer’s team is also harnessing the Harvard Biomarkers Study Biobank, one of the largest longitudinal biobanks for Parkinson’s, to develop personalized patient approaches.

“The biobank is rocket fuel for precision neurology for Parkinson’s and all neurodegenerative diseases,” says Scherzer. “It’s helping us learn how to target the driver of disease in each patient with the right drug at the right time.”

Standing behind this caliber of science means everything to the Rosenbaums, who have also become involved in the New England Parkinson’s Ride—founded by Edna Woods and her family after her son’s diagnosis of early-onset Parkinson’s. Brett’s brother signed the Rosenbaums up for the cycling event shortly after his diagnosis, and the family has since biked thousands of miles while forging a close friendship with the Woods family.

“Through this experience, I’ve appreciated my incredibly supportive family and amazing people like Edna, who has become like a second mom to me,” Brett says.

Being connected with the Woods family and Scherzer gives the family the impetus to keep fighting.

“That fight for a cure is what it’s all about for us,” Brett adds. “We’re hopeful for Dr. Scherzer’s research. We’ll give everything we can until there is a cure.”