LA BioMed researcher will lead a team of investigators from 5 universities
A team of researchers will use state-of-the-art brain imaging to unlock the secrets of a genetic disease, mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS), in a landmark study the team hope will lead to new treatments for this devastating disease.
Patricia Dickson, MD, who directs the MPS Research Laboratory at Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center (LA BioMed), will lead a team of investigators from five universities around the country in the research funded with a $1.5 million, five-year grant the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently awarded to the team. The team will be using the latest in brain imaging for the first time to study the brains of disease models with MPS.
"People with MPS build up a natural substance called glycosaminoglycans, or GAG, inside the cells of their bodies," Dr. Dickson said. "When this happens in the brain, people with MPS suffer cognitive deterioration, memory loss and difficulty concentrating. Essentially, you have a teenager or young adult who is developing dementia."
To figure out why, Dr. Dickson and her group will use high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging and diffusion tensor imaging to map the MPS brain to structural studies at the cellular level. Their goal is greater understanding of MPS brain disease, leading to new avenues of treatment. What they learn about MPS could also help researchers who are studying more common causes of dementia.