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First SPF Research Grants are awarded! Press Release

The Spastic Paraplegia Foundation is dedicated to advancing research and ultimately finding the cures for two groups of closely related upper motor neuron disorders termed Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia and Primary Lateral Sclerosis. The conditions share the common pathologic feature of degeneration principally of the upper motor neurons. 

The impetus for forming the Foundation was inspired by the accelerating pace of research. Many HSP genes have been discovered as well as a gene for PLS. Animal models for these disorders are underway. These will enable investigators to uncover the biochemical processes that cause nerve degeneration and identify therapy targets. Gene discovery continues to move forward as well as research to understand the proteins created by known genes.

Additionally, researchers feel that compounds showing compelling data for treatment for the motor neuron disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) may be promising for upper motor neuron conditions as well. These include Rilutek (the only FDA approved treatment for ALS), Celebrex, Creatine, Minocycline and antioxidants Vitamin E, alpha lipoic acid and CoQ10. Please visit Publications to review recent HSP and PLS research and Research at the ALS Association to stay current on ALS research.

An increased focus on our diseases is timely and critical. Investigators claim there is overlap, commonality and convergence along the continuum of motor neuron diseases as well as other neurologic conditions such as spinal cord injury and Alzheimer's Disease. Common threads link neurological conditions affecting millions of Americans. 

While much research has been underway on the motor neuron disorder ALS and other neurologic conditions, there has been little attention on the category of upper motor neuron disorders until now. SPF supports research specifically on upper motor neuron conditions.

Fostering communication and collaboration between researchers, improving their access to data and providing direction to their efforts will accelerate the pace towards finding the cures. We are hopeful that findings in SPF disorders will not only help us, but also lead to breakthroughs for other conditions.

The SPF will seek to support new initiatives, take smart risks and make sure research dollars are spent wisely on pertinent PLS and HSP research. The Spastic Paraplegia Foundation is a volunteer driven, publicly supported organization. Make a contribution to research or discuss ways your company can become a partner.

PLS and HSP genes discovered thus far:

PLS genes:

HSP genes:

Article by John K. Fink, M.D.: The Hereditary Spastic Paraplegias - Nine Genes and Counting

(two more genes have been discovered since that article was published)

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