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Funded Studies

Antibody Testing in Postmortem Human Brain

Mutations in the gene for LRRK2 are the most common genetic cause for Parkinson’s disease (PD) and therefore the LRRK2 protein appears to be important for normal brain function. Learning more about LRRK2 in normal and PD brains may therefore give clues as to the cause and possible cure of PD. Antibodies are very useful tools for investigating proteins as they are capable of identifying specific proteins from amongst the thousands that make up the human body. The Michael J Fox Foundation (MJFF) has assisted in the making of several antibodies that identify LRRK2 but these will not be fully useful until they are extensively tested.

Project Description: 
This project will test LRRK2 antibodies identified by the MJFF. The antibodies will be tested on postmortem human brain samples presently held at the Banner Sun Health Research Institute in Sun City, AZ and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, TX. Both normal and PD brains will be tested under different conditions intended to optimize the usefulness of the antibodies. A prime objective will be to find those antibodies and methods that could be used to study the world’s existing large archived brain tissue banks, which contain thousands of PD and normal brains.

Relevance to Diagnosis/Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease:  
Understanding the normal function of LRRK2 and its role in causing PD may lead to new therapeutic strategies for curing PD.

Anticipated Outcome: 
The project is designed to be completed in six months. At the end of that time it is expected that several of the LRRK2 antibodies will be shown to be immediately applicable, using methods generated by this project, to the study of archived PD and normal brain tissue held in tissue banks all over the world.

This study is a part of MJFF’s LRRK2 Antibody Comparison Effort 2011.


  • Thomas Beach, MD, PhD

    Sun City, AZ United States

  • Charles L. White III, MD

    Dallas, TX United States

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