Yale University, USA: Using patient-specific neurons
Using patient-specific, iPSC-derived neurons to model neurodegeneration in multiple sclerosis
Principal Investigator: David Pitt, M.D.
Institution: Yale University School of Medicine
Amount Awarded: €75,000
Disease progression varies greatly among people with MS. The reason for this is unknown, but may be related to genetic differences in the susceptibility of nerve cells to injury. Glutamate is a compound that is normally found in the brain that can cause injury to neurons when it is present in excessive amounts. This team proposes to use neuron stem cells that have been derived from skin cells from individuals with MS to test if there are genetic differences in their neurons’ sensitivity to injury from glutamate. Several medications have been developed that modulate glutamate, and these could be potential new therapies for people with MS if it can be determined who may have glutamate sensitivity.
What does this mean for people living with progressive MS?
If some people are genetically predisposed to sensitivity to glutamate, this subset of individuals may benefit from therapies that address excessive glutamate to slow or stop disease progression.
Principal Investigator David Pitt
David Pitt, MD, earned his medical degree from the University of Marburg, Germany in 1998. Subsequently, he received postdoctoral research training at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, NY, where he later completed a neurology residency and served as a chief resident. Dr. Pitt went on to complete a three-year fellowship in Multiple Sclerosis and Neuroimmunology at Washington University in St. Louis. At Yale, he conducts basic and translational research focusing on neurodegenerative aspects of multiple sclerosis. Dr. Pitt is funded by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (USA) and the NIH and collaborates with several companies on various research projects.
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