Dr. Jean Giacomotto, a researcher at Griffith University, has been awarded a $299,791 grant from FightMND to investigate the role of genes associated with Motor Neuron Disease (MND), also known as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Dr. Giacomotto will be using zebrafish as a model organism to gain a deeper understanding of the disease and its genetic underpinnings.
Zebrafish have proven to be a valuable research tool due to their genetic similarities to humans and their versatility for drug discovery. Dr. Giacomotto and his colleagues will manipulate the genetics of zebrafish to better comprehend how specific MND risk genes contribute to the disease. Their aim is to develop zebrafish models that accurately represent MND and can be used for drug discovery and pre-clinical studies.
The support from FightMND will enable Dr. Giacomotto and his team to develop innovative genetic systems that serve a two-fold strategy. Firstly, these systems will facilitate the study and confirmation of the pathogenicity of different MND genes. Secondly, they have the potential to generate stable zebrafish models that exhibit early MND phenotypes, which are characteristic indicators of the disease. These models could then be utilized for drug screening and the discovery of new therapies.
MND is a group of diseases that affects the nerve cells responsible for controlling muscle movement. As the disease progresses, these nerve cells gradually weaken and die, resulting in muscle weakness and wasting. Currently, there is no truly effective treatment or cure for MND.
The research being conducted by Dr. Giacomotto and his team has the potential to not only enhance our understanding of MND, but also provide valuable tools for the development of innovative therapeutics. Their work could lead to the discovery of new drugs that could improve the lives of MND patients.
Source: Griffith University