The Parkinson Foundation of the Heartland has awarded $10,000 to the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation to fund Parkinson’s disease research.
Jim Keating, director of the Parkinson Foundation of the Heartland, presented the $10,000 award this month to Kenneth Hensley, Ph.D., an associate research scientist in OMRF’s Free Radical Biology and Aging Research Program.
Parkinson’s disease manifests itself through involuntary movements and loss of coordination. Its victims slowly lose their ability to communicate, speak and care for themselves. As many as one million Americans and 10,000 Oklahomans suffer from Parkinson’s.
“We know the critical nature of helping find better treatments and, ultimately, a cure for Parkinson and other debilitating neurological disorders,” said Keating. “Supporting research in Oklahoma is a key element of our mission. And we specifically admire Dr. Hensley and his compassion for those affected by neurological diseases and his commitment to finding cures.”
Hensley’s lab is examining what triggers the neurodegenerative disease and how to slow, stop or even reverse its effects on the brain. The cause of Parkinson’s is unknown, and there currently is no cure for the chronic and progressive disease.
“Parkinson’s is a devastating disease, and we are looking at every possible method for derailing its progress,” Hensley said. “Even slowing the rate of the disease’s progression would give victims more time with their families, and we want to find ways to do that.”
Keating is hopeful that the grant will spark progress in the battle against the deadly illness. “We hope this gift provides a small boost to those researchers on the frontline of neurological disease research, letting them know that we support their work,” he said.
OMRF is an independent, nonprofit biomedical research institute dedicated to understanding and developing more effective treatments for human disease. Its scientists focus on such critical research areas as diseases of the brain and nervous system, cancer, lupus and cardiovascular disease.