London, Ontario – April 29, 2016 – The Ontario Rett Syndrome Association (O.R.S.A.) Board of Directors has unanimously approved the funding of two $25,000 Research Grants from The Hope Fund. The Hope Fund was established in 2014 and this is the second year that grants have been released from this fund. The funds for these research grant were raised through donations and fundraising activities. O.R.S.A. continues to support research excellence and the development of a wide scope of Rett syndrome research across Canada.
The first $25,000 grant was awarded to Dr. James Eubanks from Toronto Western Hospital with an application entitled “Testing new read-through drugs for prospective treatment of Rett Syndrome”. Testing new read-through drugs for prospective treatment of Rett Syndrome”. This study aims to evaluate the potential for newer drugs to overcome certain genetic mutations found in Rett Syndrome, in turn leading to production of a normal MeCP2 protein. This could potentially lead to further studies geared toward larger therapeutic development. This study has been peer-reviewed by 3 separate and unbiased reviewers and has been unanimously endorsed as highly relevant and very feasible.
The second $25,000 grant was awarded to Dr Mojgan Rastegar from the University of Manitoba. Her study is entitled “MeCP2 mutation and Rett Syndrome; Investigating the brain-specific molecular signature of murine and human RTT brain”. These applications were received and evaluated by O.R.S.A.’s Research Advisory Committee that comprised impartial and prominent neurologists, geneticists and scientists from across Canada. This study aims to evaluate the potential differences in male vs female brains (both mouse and human) with Rett Syndrome mutations. The rationale for this is that most people with Rett Syndrome are female, yet many of the studies to date have been conducted on male mouse models. Dr. Rastegar aims to evaluate if there are significant differences here and if this needs to be further evaluated for future planned studies.