"The challenge that currently lies before scientists," Henderson said, "is to unravel the variables leading to neurological disorders and to obtain data on the malfunction of the expressed genes that cause disease. Using an interdisciplinary approach including molecular epidemiology, neurobiology and genetics, USC scientists will be able to understand how each variable contributes to disease progression and can help in delineating and identifying diagnostic and potential therapeutic alternatives.
"The Neurogenetic Initiative will draw faculty from both USC campuses and from many of its hospital partners," Henderson said. "We will be seeking solutions to health issues that have enormous economic implications for the future. The cost to treat neurodegenerative diseases is skyrocketing, and the future cost of facilities and professionals to care for patients severely afflicted by these diseases can't begin to be estimated."
Ryan said that to address the problem the school will, "draw on all our resources, on both our campuses, and use our considerable expertise in the management of multidisciplinary research to make a difference in the diagnosis and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. The effort will be focused in the new Neurogenetic Institute at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. The Keck gift makes the effort possible."
On the USC Health Science Campus, the initiative will involve the Keck School of Medicine's departments of cell and neurobiology, neurology, neurosurgery, preventive medicine, psychiatry and behavioral sciences, and ophthalmology, as well as USC's Institute of Genetic Medicine, the Doheny Eye Institute and USC's Gene Therapy Program.
On the University Park Campus, the initiative will involve researchers in USC's
Ethel Percy Andrus Ger
Contact: Brenda Maceo
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University of Southern California