The National Ataxia Foundation (NAF) and the Friedreich's Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA) announced today that the $100,000 Kyle Bryant Award will go to translational research being done by Australian researchers and their British collaborators into the catalytic antioxidant CTMIO as a possible treatment for Friedreich's ataxia (FRDA).
The research proposal was submitted by Dr. Nuri Gueven at Queensland Institute of Medical Research in Australia. The title of the proposal is "Use of a novel catalytic antioxidant, CTMIO, in a GAA repeat mouse model of FRDA." The mouse model and application of CTMIO to the mice will be provided by the London team of Dr. Mark Pook while the analysis will be done in Dr. Nueven's lab in Australia.
CTMIO is a catalytic nitroxide antioxidant that has been found to correct some neurobehavioral function in a mouse model of ataxia-telangiectasia. The overall goal of this project is to determine if CTMIO can alleviate pathological changes in the GAA-repeat-mouse model of FRDA. If so, this class of compounds could become a promising therapeutic approach for FRDA. This type of antioxidant is different structurally and mechanistically from the other antioxidants (Idebenone, Co-Q10, and Vitamin E) that are being studied in FRDA clinical trials.
This research project was selected from 10 excellent applications that were peer-reviewed and then ranked by FARA and NAF scientific advisors. The Award was established in honor of Kyle Bryant, the courageous young man who has Friedreich's ataxia and pedaled his cycle from La Jolla, California to the annual NAF meeting in Memphis earlier this year, increasing awareness of Friedreich's ataxia and raising funds to support the research into treatments and a cure.
Bryant raised $40,000 on his cross-country "Ride Ataxia," visiting FRDA researchers and patient families along his route. NAF and FARA announced at the end of his ride that the two organizations would add sufficient funds to bring the total of the Kyle Bryant Research Award to $100,000.
NAF Executive Director Michael Parent commented, "The National Ataxia Foundation is truly grateful to Kyle Bryant for his courageous journey to help raise ataxia awareness and needed funds to support promising Friedreich's ataxia research. Kyle's initiative has made it possible to fund this exciting research study." FARA President Ron Bartek added, "Kyle’s courage, commitment and dedication inspired and enabled FARA and NAF to collaborate for the first time in co-funding exciting new Friedreich’s ataxia research. With all of us working together like this, we will develop treatments and a cure. This compelling new collaboration will help accelerate that accomplishment."
Bryant, 25, left La Jolla on January 22, 2007 with a group of friends and family, and logged about 60 miles a day, arriving in Memphis March 22, 2007. He kept a blog describing his adventures along the way: http://rideataxia.blogspot.com
"There is an optimism in our community of Ataxians. Many people think that we can actually beat this thing," said Bryant.
Friedreich's ataxia is a life-shortening, debilitating and rare genetic neurodegenerative disorder. Onset of symptoms usually occurs between the ages of 5 and 15. Symptoms include muscle weakness and loss of coordination in the arms and legs; impairment of vision, hearing and speech; aggressive scoliosis (curvature of the spine); diabetes, and a serious heart condition. Most patients need a wheelchair full-time by their late teens and die as young adults. There is currently no treatment or cure.
NAF is a membership supported, nonprofit organization established in 1957 to help persons with ataxia and their families. The Foundation's primary purpose is to support promising ataxia research and to provide vital programs and services for ataxia families. http://www.ataxia.org
The Friedreich's Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA) is a 501(c)(3), non-profit, charitable organization dedicated to accelerating research leading to treatments and a cure for Friedreich's ataxia. http://www.curefa.org
President, Friedreich's Ataxia Research Alliance
Executive Director, National Ataxia Foundation
Founder, Ride Ataxia