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 for 2018. This is the fourth year in a row that the Hope Fund has awarded grants totaling $250,000!
The first $25,000 grant was awarded to Dr Mojgan Rastegar from the University of Manitoba. Dr Mojgan Rastegar plans to further study the role of metformin (a current and commonly available drug, used most frequently in the treatment in diabetes) as a potential therapeutic agent in the treatment of Rett Syndrome. Metformin is thought to possibly stimulate the key system that is underactive in Rett Syndrome. There is already a considerable amount of preliminary data to support this line of reasoning. This study aims to help take this “to the next level”. Dr Rastegar has been a prominent Rett Syndrome researcher for a number of years, and is a past grant winner who has shown passion, dedication, and persistence toward Rett research.
The second $25,000 grant was awarded to Dr Kerry Delaney to study neural connectivity in mosaic brain tissues using newer optogenetic techniques, hoping to shed further light on the clinical implications of the real-world heterozygosity in female Rett syndrome brains. It is hoped that this preliminary study may lay the foundation for future studies and for larger CIHR grant applications. It also will help to bring new researchers into the Rett field. One reviewer has described this proposal as being “at the cutting edge of technology, and addresses an area that until now has remained untouchable”.
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.