September 2009  View e-mail online  
The Scripps Research Institute
An e-Newsletter for Philanthropists
 
 

Gerald F. Joyce
Gerald F. Joyce

I am always impressed by the curiosity, enthusiasm, and generosity of our supporters, and your responses to last month's survey were just one more reminder of this. Thank you for your participation.

We return this month with the usual format for our newsletter and will be incorporating your feedback into future issues. I hope you will continue to find At the Forefront to be both interesting and informative, and that you will continue to share it with your friends and colleagues.

Gerald F. Joyce, MD PhD
Dean of the Faculty

Focus On

Associate Professor Deniz
Associate Professor Ashok Deniz (center), pictured here with Research Associates Allan Ferreon (left) and Yann Gambin

"Dancing protein" may hold the mystery to Parkinson's disease

It sounds more disco than science: fluorescent resonance, dancing proteins, folding and shape-shifting. But when Scripps Research investigators decided to take a closer look at a protein associated with Parkinson's disease and other neurological disorders, this was the path to discovery.

Most proteins are folded into three-dimensional shapes, which scientists long believed dictated their function. But recently researchers have discovered a class of proteins that are functional, despite often being unfolded.

Alpha-synuclein, the Scripps Researcher investigators' object of inquiry, is such a protein. And what researchers found when they took a closer look may help unlock the mystery of neurological diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.


Milestones in Medical Science

Assistant Professor Baldwin
Assistant Professor Kristin Baldwin. Photo by BioMedical Graphics.

Stem cell breakthrough opens the door to a range of new therapies

The promise of stem cells lies in their ability to turn into a range of different cells. Some scientists believe that they could be used to grow replacement organs using patients' own cells and avoid the risk of rejection.

Now, Scripps Research scientists have successfully created a model that involves normal skin cells without using embryonic stem cells or cloning techniques using eggs. Their success evokes the possibility of developing innovative new therapies without the ethical issues of embryonic stem cell research.


Other News

Kapakahine B, which has shown potential for fighting leukemia, comes from the tube-type sponge Cripbrochalina olemda. Illustration by Kevin Fung.

Unlocking the potential of tropical reefs for the fight against leukemia

The next great hope for fighting leukemia just might come from a tubular sponge found on tropical South Pacific reefs.

More than a decade ago, researchers discovered that kapakahines, chemicals produced by a sponge that lives on tropical reefs, had anti-leukemia potential. But each sponge produces only a speck of the compounds. Lack of availability all but stalled research....

But Scripps Research Professor Phil Baran, graduate student Tim Newhouse, and postdoctoral fellow Chad Lewis were tantalized by the compounds' strange twists and pharmaceutical potential. Pressing forward, they developed a technique that will reopen this exciting area of research.

 

 
Facts & Figures
The average age of Parkinson's onset is 55 years old, but 10% of Parkinson's cases are in people younger than 40.
Today's research makes tomorrow's medical history

The quest for cures to the world's most devastating diseases relies on passion, dedication and talent of a number of individuals – including you. Make your contribution to tomorrow's medical advances today.


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The Laughing Cure?

The Scripps Research Institute's work may be no laughing matter, but this fall laughter will make a big difference when comedians Ray Romano and Kevin James throw their weight behind the cause.

The two actors will lead a celebrity golf classic at California's El Caballero Country Club on November 16. Proceeds from the event will benefit Dr. Martin Friedlander's work on retinal degenerative conditions.

To learn more, including how to sign up to play, download a brochure (front & back) or call Golf on Earth Event Services at (818) 594-7277.
 

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email: philanthropy@scripps.edu - www.scripps.edu/philanthropy/