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February 2016 Grants Newsletter | Results

A Breakthrough in Parkinson’s

Research helps find a treatment 

IN THE LAB: Dr. Aiqun Li (left), a scientist funded by our grant, is developing new therapies for Parkinson’s. Each year 60,000 more Americans are diagnosed with the disease.  

John Henry and his sister Emily Henry wanted to help find cures for debilitating diseases, so they set up funds in The New York Community Trust to support research. The Trust has pooled their gift with money from other donors to fund scientists. Since 2007, we’ve given $831,000 to the New York Stem Cell Foundation to investigate cures and treatments for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other diseases.

We’re seeing promising results. Researchers studied neurons made from the skin cells of identical twins, only one of whom has Parkinson’s. The scientists determined how the twins’ neurons produced dopamine—the molecule deficient in Parkinson’s disease—and compared the differences. Their discovery was featured as a cover story in Cell Reports journal.

With our latest grant, the New York Stem Cell Foundation will use a new technique to modify the genes associated with Parkinson’s to reverse or stop its progression. 

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